Abu Dhabi Up to 750 women die of cervical cancer each day across the world and the disease is among the leading causes of death amongst women in the UAE, according to Jala’ Taha, head of the Department of Oncology at the Abu Dhabi Health Authority.
Taha said 500,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide annually and nearly 300,000 women die each year as a result of the disease.“Cervical cancer is cancer in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus [womb] and is caused by repeated infection with the Human Papilloma virus [HPV] which is usually transmitted through sexual contact,” she added.
“The health authorities throughout the UAE provide free vaccines for women to prevent such disease. We provide three shots in order to increase the immunity [of] women in the country [as part of] preventive measures to decrease the rates of catching such a disease, which is mainly caused by a virus,” Taha said.
Most common killer
She added cancer is still the second most common killer worldwide and cervical cancer is the third most common killer in the UAE.
In a press conference to officially launch the Cervical Cancer Campaign, Sameh Azazi, a consultant gynaecologist, stressed the importance of educating patients about cervical cancer.
“For the first time, we now have a realistic shot at substantially reducing cervical cancer through the vaccine,” said Azazi, stressing the importance of regular check-ups and advice from gynaecologists on early diagnosis for cancer.
He explained that the UAE campaign for cervical cancer prevention seeks to raise awareness of the disease, highlight ways to prevent its spread and support women living with the disease.
“To prevent cervical cancer, we carry out screening programmes to dramatically cut the rates of cervical cancer by vaccinating the women before they become sexually active,” Azazi added.
In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Health Authority offers the jab for free to Emirati girls above 15 years old. Everyone else has to pay between Dh500 and Dh900 for each of three doses.
"For the first time, we now have a realistic shot at substantially reducing cervical cancer through the vaccine.” Added Jala Taha, Head of the Oncology Department, Abu Dhabi Health Authority.