Cancer is the second biggest killer in the emirates behind heart disease, according to the most recent World Health Organisation figures.
As part of the October Breast Cancer Awareness month, the EMA has signed-up to the world-champion cyclist Lance Armstrong’s international cancer awareness campaign.
The cyclist launched the charity last year after fighting and winning his own personal battle with testicular cancer.
The move will see all money raised by the charity in the UAE going to support local cancer work.
“Being part of such a high-profile global campaign will help send a message to people in the UAE that cancer is not a taboo subject,” said Dr Shaheenah Dawood, a senior specialist registrar in oncology based in Dubai, and member of the EMA’s Oncology Society.
“Our goal is to educate people that cancer is curable, and if it is diagnosed and treated early, then the chances of a complete recovery are very good.”
The most recent WHO data for 2005 shows that 19.1 percent of deaths in the UAE are due to cancer, second only to heart disease, which accounts for 39.6 percent of deaths.
The EMA is the first UAE organisation to sign up to the Livestrong campaign.
Arno Kukkuk, Livestrong leader for the UAE said: “There is a certain stigma to talking about cancer here, and so we want to get the message across that cancer is real, but it is also curable.
“Just look at Lance Armstrong – he was diagnosed at 25 with testicular cancer that had already spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain, and he survived, going on to win seven Tour de France titles.”
The first UAE Livestrong fundraising event will be held on October 2, with a ‘100 Mile Cycle to Nowhere’ in the Mall of Emirates, Dubai.
Meanwhile, the EMA will hold the UAE’s first multi-disciplinary conference dedicated to breast cancer on October 29-31 at the Al Murooj Rotana in Dubai.