Early Detection of Cancer Aids in Treatment and Recovery Process, says UAE Cancer Survivor
Fayza thanks Friends Of Cancer Patients for moral and financial help,
reinforces importance of regular medical check-ups
For Fayza, 03.03.2003 will forever remain etched in her memory as the day cancer became an inseparable part of her life. “For me, the date is also a constant reminder of how important it is to seek prompt medical check-ups which, unfortunately, I had neglected to do.”
“For almost two months I had observed certain unusual symptoms in my body like abdominal pain. I initially dismissed it, assuming it would disappear with any painkiller,” she recollects.
It was when the pain became unbearable that Fayza eventually went to the doctor. Tests revealed that she had splenomegaly or enlarged spleen, the key symptom of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).
The years that followed was a stressful period, adds Fayza, as the treatment could only halt cancer from spreading, not defeat it entirely. The ongoing financial costs too added to her burden.
It wasn’t until three years ago, when she joined the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), a UAE-based charity organisation dedicated to creating a supportive environment for cancer patients and raising awareness of the disease, that her life turned around, admits Fayza.
“Broken and desperate, I soon began to experience renewed confidence and regained hope in recovery thanks to the much-needed financial and emotional support offered by FOCP. The volunteers at FOCP infused me with boundless optimism and enthusiasm. I became more active, cheerful and positive – it felt as if I had been given a new lease of life,” she says.
Since its inception in 1999, Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) has been helping cancer patients and their families get through their long and arduous journey of cancer treatment by providing both moral and financial support, irrespective of their nationality, gender, age, religion or ethnicity.
For two decades now, FOCP has also been promoting awareness of the importance of regular screenings and medical check-ups for early detection in alignment with UAE’s National Health Agenda that seeks to reduce cancer deaths from 99 to 64.2 per 100,000 population by 2021. This objective constitutes a key performance indicator of a world-class healthcare system and is an integral element of the nation’s healthcare goals.
The inclusive programme of initiatives and events undertaken by FOCP seek to raise cancer awareness among the community, restore hope to cancer patients, and motivate them to face cancer in a determined manner. Through its efforts, FOCP seeks to achieve its key objectives of reducing cancer death rates and providing a more rapid response to patients in their treatment process.
Fayza’s cancer journey has reinforced the instrumental role of regular check-ups in detecting potential health issues before they become a problem. “I have always regretted not seeking timely medical advice and today, I encourage people to keep their medical appointments and pay attention to unusual changes occurring in the body,” she says.
“My personal journey with cancer has motivated me to learn more about it. I have learnt that early detection gives you the best chance for getting the right treatment quickly, and aids in the recovery process. I, therefore, urge everyone to take advantage of the various initiatives offered by FOCP that help to both raise awareness of different forms of cancer and dispel misconceptions about the disease.”
Fayza is grateful to Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and Royal Patron of FoCP, International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, for shining a beacon of hope in her life through FOCP.
“Words fail to express my gratitude to the FOCP personnel for their noble humanitarian services that is delivered to cancer patients in the UAE and beyond,” she adds.
Having completed 20 years of operations this year, the cancer non-profit has recorded over 5,251 beneficiaries across the UAE since inception, and introduced as many as 170 new patients and their families to their support system within the first half of 2020.
Help FOCP help more cancer patients in need of treatment
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed those afflicted by cancer to greater risks and vulnerabilities. Reminding community that it is more important than ever to safeguard our community, FOCP has called on private and government entities, banks, donors as well as UAE residents to open their hearts during the month of giving, and bring hope to those battling this life-threatening disease.
Donors can visit https://focp.ae/donate-programs/ to learn about the different initiatives under FOCP they can support. Online donation coupons of AED 10, 50,100, 500 and 1,000 are also available for purchase at www.focp.ae/coupon/.
In a bid to enable donors to make their contributions remotely in light of COVID-19, FOCP has also activate other remote contribution channels like bank transfers and SMS donations. More information about these can be found: www.focp.ae.
Type of cancer
Blood cancer or leukaemia is cancer of the blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. It usually starts forming in the white blood cells, which are potent infection fighters.
Normally, white blood cells grow and divide in an orderly way but in people with leukaemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal cells, which do not function properly.
Leukaemia is one of the most common childhood cancers, but also develops in adults in both women and men. Clinically and pathologically, leukaemia has two classifications – the first is based on speed of progression or how fast the leukaemia progresses, and it is subdivided into ‘Acute’ and ‘Chronic’. The second is by type of blood cell affected and subdivided into ‘Lymphoma’ and ‘Myeloma’.
Hence, there are four key types of blood cancer – acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL), acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML). Other subtypes of leukaemia are rare but do exist, and only few of them affects children.
You can contribute in achieving the vision of Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) Association by providing financial and moral support to cancer patients in United Arab Emirates, to support them during their arduous treatment journeys with hope, courage and positivity.