World Cancer Day is more than just a day on the calendar – and for Pfizer Gulf, achieving meaningful progress, empowering communities and closing the care gap are key drivers of its commitment. sustainability towards patients in the United Arab Emirates.
It’s a day to spark hope, inspire change and mobilize action long after the day itself – which is why the world’s leading biopharmaceutical company marked the occasion this year by renewing its vital partnerships with UAE-based cancer patient societies Emirates Oncology Society (EOS) and Friends of the Cancer Patient (OFCP).
Under the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed with the OFCP and EOS, Pfizer will lend a hand to raise awareness, encourage early detection and support cancer treatment in the United Arab Emirates, furthering its commitment to advancing the cancer care in the country.
“Cancer is one of the greatest health challenges we collectively face today, and our goal is to close the care gap for cancer patients in the UAE,” said Lindsey Dietschi, Head of of the Gulf Group for Pfizer, to Reach by Gulf News in an interview.
“Alongside our cutting-edge research and scientific innovation, these vital agreements help us amplify and support the efforts of our partners such as Friends of Cancer Patients and Emirates Oncology Society and ensure that we are doing all we can to support the cancer patients in the country.”
The renewed partnerships come at a critical time in the fight against the disease: 10 million people worldwide died of cancer in 2020, which represents approximately one in six deaths worldwide, even during the pandemic. In the United Arab Emirates, cancer is the third leading cause of death and, according to Globocan 2020, breast cancer is the most common in the country, followed by thyroid and colon cancer.
“For any situation involving a cancer patient, every family is always dealing with a heavy burden,” Dietschi said. “This includes the impact on family, on relationships, on careers and on mental health.
“Our strong partnerships with FOCP and EOS are how Pfizer shares this significant burden and supports our patient community in the UAE,” she added.
The agreements, Dietschi explained, successfully do three things: facilitate scientific exchange through partnership; improve decision-making by supporting early detection; and accelerating the ability to provide local evidence and data for further research.
“We know how important screenings are to enable effective decisions about the course of treatment to follow. It always helps when such a diagnosis occurs at an early stage, and working with our partners to raise awareness of regular screenings can make a vital difference.
“That’s why we are delighted with this renewed collaboration; it complements very well our efforts at Pfizer Gulf to provide the best possible cancer care, bringing breakthrough science to the patients who need it most. »
With the increase in the number of cancers, regular screenings and early detection have become essential elements to mitigate the impact, reduce mortality and reduce the cost of care. Worldwide, one in five people is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
“Our partnership with Pfizer is an important step for the OFCP. With Pfizer’s wealth of oncology information, OFCP can increase its efforts to fight cancer, especially at the grassroots level,” said Dr Sawsan Jafar, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Friends of Cancer Patients, at Reach by Gulf News.
“This collaboration with Pfizer is the latest in a long list of our eight-year partnership and will go a long way in furthering our commitment to easing the burden of cancer in the region.
The OFCP, which has played a vital role in amplifying the voice of patients to motivate policymakers and health authorities to develop effective cancer strategies, will also continue to collaborate on research, Dr. Jafar said. “Thanks to new advanced treatments, patients have every chance of surviving if the cancer is detected early. This is why it is paramount that residents of the UAE know the risk factors and have access to life-saving screenings, which the OFCP advocates and offers.
Dr Humaid Al Shamsi, President of the Emirates Oncology Society, expects the cancer incidence rate to increase twice as fast by 2025 compared to the rest of the world.
“A lot of people still aren’t comfortable with the word cancer and try to avoid it… We definitely need to let people know that talking about cancer doesn’t cause cancer. Instead, it’s important to be aware of its early signs and symptoms. This is something the partnership with Pfizer will help us achieve – we will work closely together to ensure that cancer screenings as well as prevention measures remain a top priority for patients and healthcare professionals,” said Dr Al Shamsi.
“We are the ones who see cancer patients every day – so we understand the challenges and the ways we can improve them. Working together as one team is the best way to find effective solutions to cancer care challenges in the UAE and beyond. »
Dietschi added: “While we are proud of the significant progress we have made in cancer treatment, our work is far from done. Our partnerships with FOCP and EOS reaffirm our commitment to collectively fight cancer in the UAE and the Gulf, and we will use all our resources to bring more innovations in oncology and oncology to the region.
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