(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The emirate will soon have a unified registry for cancer following the activation of the e-cancer notification system by the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD).
The e-cancer notification was integrated last month with all Seha (government) hospitals and will be linked next year with all private hospitals, according to Dr Jalaa Assad Taher, head of Cancer Control and Prevention at the HAAD.
"The reporting already started at the first of this month," said Dr Taher, adding that plan is afoot to connect e-cancer notification with the hospital's health information systems so that reporting would soon be done on a "daily basis".
Speaking to Khaleej Times on Wednesday on the sidelines of the launch of the 'Cancer Wave Health Promotion Project', Dr Taher said the HAAD is currently working on a report, which will be presented to the government next year, about the cost of screening and treatment of cancer in the emirate. Dr Taher said she expects to present findings, based on the data gathered from the e-cancer, that showed a reduction in mortality rate amongst UAE nationals as a result of timely screening as provided by their Thiqa health insurance card.
Similarly, Dr Taher hopes to advocate all insurance companies to provide free screening for all expatriates, particularly for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers - the top three priority cancers by the HAAD.At present, mammogram is not included in the basic insurance plan and that free screening for expats is only provided by the Ministry of Health's National Screening Programme for Women and Child. Dr Taher urged women to take advantage of this opportunity and stressed the importance of early detection, which could be lifesaving for them.
"Cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in the emirate, the second leading cause of death among nationals in 2011 and the third among non-nationals," stated Dr Taher.
According to her, breast cancer constitutes a quarter (25 per cent) of all cancer cases while colorectal (colon and rectum) and cervical cancers accounts for 10 per cent and sixth per cent, respectively.
As part of a wider initiative to raise awareness about the disease and reduce cancer risk, the HAAD, in partnership with various governmental and non-governmental organisations, is running a comprehensive programme that focuses on the top three cancers.
The events and activities will run starting this month till March 2013 to coincide with the global awareness months of each disease - October for breast cancer, January for cervical cancer and March for colorectal cancer.