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Beating a deadly disease
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 18 - 06 - 2010

CANCER is second only to coronary artery disease in terms of fatalities, say experts. Early detection of cancer increases the chances of a cure, they add.
Many Egyptians know little about cancer, because they are afraid of
the disease. Supporting the patient and trying to alleviate his physical
and emotional stress is very important.
This is the goal of CanSurvive, an organisation that helps Egyptians
with cancer.
CanSurvive, a non-profit organisation, provides cancer patients with
education and psychological support, as well as raising their awareness
of the needs and challenges of the disease, according to the Chairman
of CanSurvive, Dr Mohssen Mukhtar, an assistant professor of
oncology at Cairo University.
"I want to recover from cancer, so I can raise my son, go back to my
work and live naturally with my family," says Nashwa Abdullah, a
cancer survivor who's still receiving therapy.
It was eight years ago that Abdullah, a member at CanSurvive,
discovered that she had the disease.
"When I realised I had cancer, I didn't know what to do. Thankfully, I
received a lot of psychological support from my family. The important
thing is not to be afraid of the disease, to get treatment and to realise
that recovery is possible,” she says.
“As well as helping cancer patients, we encourage the survivors to
educate other patients," Dr Mokhtar told a press conference held in
Cairo last week, adding that, last March, CanSurvive launched a
campaign under the motto
“Change your Lifestyle”. Abdullah is full of praise for the efforts of
CanSurvive, but says that the State should support cancer patients
financially, as the treatment is so expensive.
“We printed 20,000 early detection cards for the campaign, of which
we only distributed 5,000. Just 1,000 people have come to use for
early detection. Many people are scared of this disease, so few actually
come for early detection, although it's become common in the West,”
Dr Mukhtar explained.
Dr Yasser Abdel-Qader, a professor of oncology, Qasr Al-Aini
Hospital, Cairo University and a member of CanSurvive, stressed the
importance of co-operation between the media and doctors, in order to
raise awareness.
“This should also involving doctors working in the field of oncology
getting acquainted with the warning signs of the disease,” Dr Abdel
Qader added.
He also called for establishing a national council concerned with the psychological and financial needs of cancer patients, adding that the US has had such a council since 1991.
This national council should include oncologists as well as cancer survivors, who are the best people for helping patients suffering from cancer.
Oncologist Dr Nermin Shawqi, manager of CanSurvive, noted that, following the success of the 'Change your Lifestyle' campaign, the organisation has decided to launch three similar campaigns in September, October and November, in order to raise awareness of lymphatic, breast and lung cancer respectively.
“Although lymphatic cancer only represents three per cent of cancer cases, it is the most difficult to diagnose.
Among women, breast cancer accounts for 23 per cent of cancer cases, while, since 1985, lung cancer has been the most common type of cancer among Egyptian men, running at a rate of 51 per cent,” she remarked.
Dr Shawqi also noted that a number of seminars would be organised by CanSurvive starting next month, in order to educate the public about the disease. Several oncologists and psychologists would participate in the seminars.

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