By Abdellatif Sharaa

KUWAIT: Spreading cancer awareness can help reduce fatalities and increase the recovery rate to up to 95 percent, a local organization said during a workshop organized at Sabah Hospital recently. Cancer is a chronic disease that requires constant campaigns to raise awareness on the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment, said Dr Khaled Al-Saleh, Chairman of the Board of the Cancer Aware Nation (CAN) Campaign.

He was speaking during the workshop titled ‘cancer awareness, its means and best treatment methods’. “Raising awareness leads to rescuing many people, reducing the rate of cancer cases and cutting down the cost of cancer treatment,” he said. “Treatment currently costs the government KD 50,000 per patient, whereas raising awareness costs only KD 5,000.”

Saleh explained the importance of training volunteers on providing easy explanations to the public on the risk factors and main causes of cancer, including smoking which is the primary cause of 13 types of cancer, junk food, some viruses, particularly those sexually transmitted, as well as environmental pollutants. Furthermore, Saleh highlighted the importance of early diagnosis and breast self-exam, noting that women should consult with doctors in case they suspect the development of a breast tumor, while men should consult with doctors if they experience difficulty while urinating because this could be a symptom of prostate cancer.

Meanwhile, CAN Board Member Dr Hussa Al-Shaheen said that similar campaigns carried out by the organization between 2010 and 2019 helped train around 127,000 high school students in carrying out breast self-exam. “The workshop is part of campaigns organized throughout the year to spread cancer awareness,” she said, noting that participating doctors have multiple specialties which increases the scope of the subjects discussed.

Dr Shaheen added that early detection for breast cancer achieves around 90 to 95 percent recovery rate. She said participants in the campaign decided to start training for dentists and nurses at primary care centers on recognizing most tumors causing gum and mouth cancer. Head of the Radiology Department at Adan Hospital Dr Latifa Al-Kandari spoke about the relationship between x-rays and early detection of breast cancer as she focused on the causes of this type of cancer, available medications and preventive methods. She said women above 40 years of age should visit the mammogram testing centers.