• In recognition of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Novartis held a panel discussion that brought together top-tier stakeholders, a breast cancer survivor, a medical professional, a breast cancer specialist & policy advocate to address the current issues and discuss the latest preventative strategies.
• During the opening month of Expo 2020 Dubai, Novartis debuts their exhibition and showcases the most promising frontiers of science, the most transformative innovations in medicine, and the most significant healthcare needs.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 11 October 2021: During the opening month of Expo 2020 Dubai, the world's greatest show, Novartis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, made its appearance at the Swiss Pavilion located at the Opportunity District. Consistently ranked among the world’s top companies investing in research and development, Novartis promises to showcase the most promising frontiers of science, the most transformative innovations in medicine, and the most significant healthcare needs during the month of October.
Building on Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, Novartis aimed to create global awareness in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by connecting minds of various, yet relevant stakeholders to encourage and advocate for the creation of a better future for Breast Cancer Patients. At their experiential exhibition, Novartis, who constantly aims to reimagine medicine, exclusively held together a remarkable panel discussion on Friday evening, October 8th, that brought together top-tier stakeholders including Marie-Andrea Gamache, Head of Oncology MEA Region, Novartis, Prof. Humaid AlShamsi, President of the Emirates Oncology Society, Majed Mohammed, Executive Beneficiary Support Services - Friends of Cancer, Sabrina Zucchello, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and Julie Rihani, a breast cancer survivor.
UAE’s healthcare sector is poised to continue expanding rapidly and implement bold and crucial strategies that are aimed at addressing the most critical topics faced by patients and medical professionals in the country. Cancer care is well positioned in the national agenda and the UAE is leading the effort in shaping and providing a comprehensive cancer care ranging from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care.
As the evening was welcomed by both H.E. Massimo Baggi, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and Francis Bouchard, AMACO Regional Head - Novartis Oncology, our panelists engaged and discussed the unique challenges facing cancer patients — where statistically in 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths globally*. As of the end of 2020, there were 7.8 million women alive who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years, making it the world's most prevalent cancer*.
Prof. Humaid AlShamsi, President of the Emirates Oncology Society, provided an overview of the ways in which cancer patients continue to face one of the greatest challenges in their lives. “We are honored to be here today at the Swiss Pavilion to increase the level of attention in the breast cancer community. We are dedicated to supporting and fostering the multidimensional care of cancer patients throughout the United Arab Emirates, by bringing together all the key stakeholders, working as one and working towards a cure. The theme of our evening ‘Connecting minds, Saving Lives’ is a voice we are determined to shed light over, as we work together to transform the notion of the disease of breast cancer. The UAE is leading the effort and making strong steps forward in the fight for breast cancer, and because of this, we want to do more in-depth analysis into early breast cancer detection, and increase awareness around detection, particularly as we are seeing more younger people diagnosed with the disease.”
Marie-Andrea Gamache, Head of Oncology MEA Region, stated there has been significant changes in the relationship between pharmaceutical companies, doctors, caregivers and patients and commented, “Our aim here at Novartis, and at today’s event, is to never leave any patient behind. Working together continuously with our stakeholders to generate the awareness needed for our breast cancer community is key. The voice of these patients has always been there, but it is our role at Novartis to hear that voice, and work towards a cure. We need to ensure to identify the issues and face the challenges together with our community, as we move forward as one in the breast cancer arena. In the recent years, we have shifted into individualized medicine and innovation in the pipeline of breast cancer dedication and cure. By raising awareness at all levels, from governments, to patients, organizations and even the media, it is a joint effort practice that deems successful when we collaborate to transform breast cancer together. Keeping our passion for a better tomorrow alive.”
“Novartis Oncology is committed to the innovation and improvement of cancer treatments and ensuring that people living with cancer, their caregivers, and families are aware of the support available to them,” said Wael Omran, Oncology General Manager, Gulf Region. “Today’s event, at Expo 2020 Dubai in the Swiss Pavilion, provides an opportunity to connect the minds of national scientific societies such as Emirates Oncology Society (EOS), local patient advocacy groups such as Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), and The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which is the largest international cancer membership organization. The objective is to share experiences and raise awareness about the needs of those living with, and affected by breast cancer, and this is a milestone in our bold ambition in Gulf to reimagine medicine by transforming cancer care to help patients live longer and better lives in our region,” he added.
Majed Mohammed, Executive Beneficiary Support Services - Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) said, “We are excited to be here today, as FOCP continues to strengthen its efforts to build awareness and education around the journeys of cancer patients. Patient advocacy, patient access and community awareness are our three pillars, and it is a joint effort between our stakeholder community to raise education in the breast cancer community today. We cater to allowing our patients to speak their mind and voice out their concerns in a safe space, and being able to engage with all the aspects of their cancer journey. In the recent years, UAE has become more advanced in dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer, while engaging with the right partners. We are focused on encouraging more financial, moral and psychological support, which in return will impact the patient’s will to recover. We want to ensure that our patients are actually living, and not just being alive.”
Sabrina Zucchello, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) mentioned, “With breast cancer now being the most common cancer in the world and the leading cause of cancer deaths for women globally, the time has come for all sectors to join forces. With UICC’s Breast Cancer Programme and WHO’s Global Breast Cancer Initiative, there is a momentum to galvanize real multi-stakeholder collaboration and implement effective strategies addressing breast cancer. It is urgent to move from awareness to action, by encouraging the promotion of early detection programmes adapted to the level of resources of a country, as well as taking care of the needs of advanced breast cancer patients and the most vulnerable populations.”
Julie Rihani, a breast cancer survivor and patient advocate, states, “I don’t want just to be progression free, I want to have a long life.”
Novartis constantly strives to reimagine medicine and transform cancer care, with a priority to deliver innovative targeted therapies for breast cancer that extend and transform patients’ lives. By partnering with different stakeholders, Novartis will demonstrate their ambition to transform lives, improve the outcomes for patients, renew patients’ hope for the future, reinforce the importance of overall survival, and become a trusted partner in changing the practice of medicine.