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Third Chronic Myloid Leukemia Support Group

Meeting Emphasises Early Detection

September 6th,2014

Dr Sawsan Al Madhi: CML patients must have access to an effective support system, increasing awareness, overcoming misunderstandings, and dealing with the symptoms of the disease

Professor HanyShafey: Misconceptions surrounding CML as a terminal disease must be overcome to improve treatment for patients

Friends of Cancer Patients Society – one of the leading cancer specific societiesdedicated to the screening, early detection and treatment of various cancers, and support to cancer patients– has hosted the third and final session for the year 2014 of the UAE Chronic MyloidLeukemia (CML)Support Group Gathering. The event which was launched in early 2014,aimed at creating awareness that CML, far from terminal, is treatable and manageable, with the appropriate support.

Held on September 6th at the BurjumanArjaan by Rotanain Dubaithe third session sought to engage with the UAE community at large, comprising patients, their families, the medical fraternity as well as NGOs, to spell out its objectives.

As the final session for this year of the support group, several exciting new activitieswere added to the agenda, including a raffle draw for the patients and their families and an interactive information booth about CML.

The CML Support Group aimed at empowering CML patients with the necessary support ecosystem, including an emphasis on the need for early testing, education on the initial symptoms of CML and engaging doctors, nurses, NGOs and other key stakeholders for their support.

Dr.Saswan Al Madhi, Secretary General of Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), said that what was clear from the speakers and attendees' experiences was recognition that "CML patients must have access to an effective support system, increasing awareness, overcoming misunderstandings, and dealing with the symptoms of the disease."

Failure to diagnose CML can lead to it progressing from chronic to terminal. By contrast, early detection in particular can have hugely beneficial outcomes, rendering what was once terminal, now chronic disease.

But, as Dr. Al Madhi, an internal medicine specialist herself, said: "Early detection and treatment requires multi-stakeholder cooperation, education and patient support – something that FoCP's CML support group was created for."

CML is chronic, not terminal, but it is this misconception which has adverse effects on CML patients, Professor HanyShafey, Clinical associate professor at the Department of Psychiatry of University of Western Ontario, Canada, argues, notably leading to financially disadvantaged patients not receiving the required support to afford the expensive medication required for treatment.

Professor Shafeyfurther stressed the importance of such meetings:

"CML is amisunderstood disease, and this misunderstanding affects what we now know to be very advanced treatment options. Increasing awareness of detection and treatment, and providing the moral, logistical and financial support where necessary to CML patients is crucial when it comes to dealing with this chronic illness, and I applaud FoCPfor its role in bringing patients, educators, physicians, nurses and all other stakeholders together – and thank FoCPfor inviting me here today."

Chantel Moore, General Manager of BurJumanArjaan by Rotana commented, "We are pleased to have sponsored the UAE CML Support Group Gathering at our hotel as part of the Rotana Earth initiative and ongoing commitment to support health education. We believe in supporting such unique events that bring together physicians, patients, and others to help raise awareness and benefit society. We thank FoCP and look forward to supporting them in future events."

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