Novartis brings leading breast cancer doctors together in Saudi Arabia

Side of Novartis' Breast Cancer Summit 2017 in at the Sofitel Jeddah. (Photo courtesy: supplied)
Updated 12 October 2017

Novartis brings leading breast cancer doctors together in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Marking the month of October as breast cancer awareness month, Novartis brought together Saudi Arabia’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.
Novartis provides innovative health care solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies.
In the Kingdom, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer of which women are diagnosed. In 2013, 29.1% of all cancer incidences were breast cancer, where the highest incidence rates were reported in the Eastern Province and the 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 said: “Management and treatment of cancer has significantly evolved over the years. We understand the disease better, that resulted in what we have today — better treatment options and protocols to manage the diagnosis versus what we had even five years ago. Today what we believe we now need are 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 and is specifically for metastasized breast cancer and has proven to have a higher success rate with much lower side effects. This gives way for more patients and their caregivers to get better treatment and a greater quality of living while being treated.
A new area of exploration for patient health management is holistic well-being with nutritional, emotional and physical wellness approached and incorporated with the treatment protocol developed for each patient. Patient health care services have expanded from medication-driven to overall well-being driven treatment protocols of looking at patients and their all-around needs.
Speaking on the unmet needs of breast cancer patients, Prof. Ahmed Ali Saadeddin, consultant in clinical oncology and clinical tutor at the Department of Adult Oncology at 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 continuous amount of stigma for patients in the Kingdom and significant stress from the judgment they endure from family and society, over and above the stress of a new diagnosis. The emotional needs of a breast cancer patient occur over a spectrum of social, psychological and physiological burdens 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 of a better understanding of the disease, more personalized treatment approaches with the use of targeted and biological therapies, 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 presents 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.
“A late diagnosis today does not mean the end of patients’ lives, rather the outlook is far more positive. More research is 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 of symptoms,” said Dr. Meteb Al-Foheidi, medical oncology consultant, assistant professor and medical oncology block coordinator at King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health and Science in Jeddah.


Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

Updated 23 October 2020

Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

JEDDAH: Six international organizations have completed two studies on e-learning in the Kingdom and praised its efforts in providing a rapid response, multiple options and continuous improvement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The studies involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.
The center said that the global organizations completed two comprehensive studies on the experience of public and higher education in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, with the aim of documenting and studying the reality of the experience and coming up with initiatives to develop e-learning practices in accordance with current global practices and standards.
The studies were conducted with the participation of students, faculty members, teachers, parents and school leaders.
The number of participants in the public education study reached 318,000, while the number of participants in the higher education study reached 24,000.
The first study was prepared by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), with the participation of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quality Matters (QM), the UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in the US.
The second study was prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the cooperation of the Harvard Graduate School
of Education.
In the studies, reference comparisons were made with more than 193 countries. The two studies showed the Kingdom’s distinction in the diversity of options, including, for example, electronic content and satellite channels available for e-learning in public education.

NUMBER

342k

The studies on e-learning involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.

The percentage of countries that succeeded in providing these at the national level was only 38 percent.
The study conducted by the OECD and the Harvard Graduate School of Education included a comparison of the Kingdom’s response to education during the COVID-19 pandemic with 37 member states.
The results showed the Kingdom’s progress in 13 out of 16 indicators on the average of
these countries.
The study also revealed that teachers received significant support to overcome obstacles to e-learning.
The study of public education indicated that there was a clear strategy for the Ministry of Education to reopen schools in the Kingdom and address any issues.
OLC hailed the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Education in dealing with the crisis by providing a variety of options for e-learning, and the quick response to the pandemic and immediate shift to remote instruction.
The two studies recommended 71 proposed development initiatives for public education and 78 proposed development initiatives for higher education.
The National Center for e-Learning is working in coordination with the Ministry of Education to present the initiatives and begin their implementation.
The center announced that the organizations that conducted the studies would publish their results and complete the second phase at the end of the current semester.

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