Marking the month October as breast cancer awareness month, Novartis brings together the Kingdom’s leading doctors treating breast cancer at the Sofitel Jeddah bringing to the fore the latest advancements in breast cancer treatments and patient quality of life protocols.
In the Kingdom, Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer women are diagnosed with. 29.1% of all cancer incidents in 2013 were breast cancer where the highest incidence rates are reported to be in in the Eastern Province and median age being 50. The incidence rates by region were recorded as:
- Eastern Province 41.0/100,000,
- Riyadh at 29.3/100,000,
- Makkah at 25.3/100,000,
- Northern region at 25.0/100,000 and
- Tabuk at 24.9/100,000.
A number of factors are attributed to the rising numbers which is not unique to the Kingdom, however, the Ministry of health estimates that the rate will quadruple in the Middle East over the next 20 years.”
Awareness efforts to drive early detection are significantly helping patients come to a better prognosis and their overall quality of life. However, awareness levels are still reported to be low Kingdom wide. Dr Adel El Sayes Medical Director of the Saudi Cancer Foundation expressed “Management and treatment of cancer has significantly evolved over the years. We understand the disease better, that resulted in we have today - better treatment options and protocols to manage the diagnosis versus what we had even 5 years ago. Today what we believe we now need better strategies to raise levels of understanding for patients and their families. It’s a critical component that we work together to ease the burden of a diagnosis and encourage patients to approach their conditions more holistically.”
Treatment and management of a cancer diagnosis have evolved dramatically in the last decade. Chemotherapy is no longer the only answer and there are oral therapies that are far more forgiving on the body and specifically target breast cancer. The new treatment protocol was approved in the Kingdom tat is specifically for metastasized breast cancer and is proven to have a higher success rate with much lower side effects. Giving way for more patients and their caregivers to get better treatment and greater quality of living while being treated.
New areas of exploration for patient health management is holistic wellbeing with nutritional, emotional and physical wellness are approached and incorporated with the treatment protocol developed for each patient. Patient healthcare services have expanded from a medication driven to overall wellbeing driven treatment protocols looking at patients and their needs all round.
Speaking on the unmet needs of breast cancer patients Prof. Ahmed Ali Saadeddin, Consultant / Clinical Oncology & Clinical Tutor Department of Adult Oncology King Abdul-Aziz Medical City / National Guard Health Affair Riyadh discussed the emotional and psychological toll a diagnosis like breast cancer has on patients and their immediate loved ones. “A Breast cancer diagnosis can bring about a continious amount of stigma for patients in the Kingdom and significant stress from the judgement they endure from family and society, over and above the stress of a new diagnosis. The emotional needs of a breast cancer patient occurs over a spectrum of social, psychological and physiological burden for both the patient and their family. Assessment of this need is a critical step in providing high quality care for patients that cannot be overlooked in favor of only a medication.”
He added “It is very important to stress the fact that there has been a significant improvement in the outcome of treatment for Breast Cancer in view to a better much understanding of the disease, more personalized treatment approach with the use of targeted and biological therapy as well as excellent progress in research to understand the mechanism of resistance of such therapies.”
More than 65% of Saudi women are diagnosed with regional and distant breast cancer which represents advanced stages in breast cancer. Advancements and medical breakthroughs in breast cancer today patients hope of a normal life after cancer. The therapies now approved for treatment of breast cancer are more targeted to directly affect the breast cancer with no need for hospitalization resulting from significantly less impact on the body overall in comparison to previous treatments.
Advancements and medical breakthroughs in breast cancer have led patients having hope of a normal life after cancer now. The therapies now approved for treatment of breast cancer are more targeted to directly affect the breast cancer with no need for hospitalization resulting from significantly less impact on the body overall in comparison to previous treatments.
“A late diagnosis today does not mean the end of patients’ lives rather the outlook is far more positive. More research being done to find answers to improve the quality of life for those patients. Today we are hopeful for a good outcome for our patients with more modalities and strategies for managing the disease and the treatment symptoms” discussed Dr. Meteb Al-Foheidi, Breast Medical Oncology Consultant at Princess Noorah Oncology Center, National Guard Health Affairs in Jeddah/ Assistant Professor & Medical Oncology Block Cordinator at King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health and Science in Jeddah.
A dramatic close to the conference with a Guinness Book of World Record attempt/ claim for “The Longest Jackhammer in the World with 25.3 ft.” representing the brand character for one of the Novartis Oncology Breakthrough Medication for the treatment of Breast Cancer.