• In Collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Friends of Cancer Patients and Dubai Fitness Challenge

DUBAI, UAE: Global biopharmaceutical company MSD GCC, concluded a four-month-long awareness campaign, #EveryBreathCounts, which was launched on August 1, to coincide with World Lung Cancer Day. The campaign was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), to raise awareness about lung cancer and educate the community on the importance of maintaining healthy lungs. The campaign continued through November when the World Lung Cancer Awareness Month was observed.

#EveryBreathCounts aims to promote early detection and preventive measures to combat lung cancer in the region. The disease is the second most common cancer globally, being the most common cancer among men and second among women after breast cancer1. According to Globocan (Global Cancer Observatory), lung cancer in the UAE in 2020 accounted for 187 mortalities, being the second highest cause of cancer-related fatalities after breast cancer2.

The campaign had a range of vital awareness initiatives. It commenced with the release of a captivating video featuring the iconic Burj Khalifa. This video conveyed a powerful message emphasizing the significance of early screening and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle to mitigate the disease while enhancing treatment efficacy.

Healthy Lifestyle for a Healthier Future

Additionally, MSD has partnered with Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), the month-long annual initiative that challenges people to commit to 30 minutes of daily physical activity for 30 days, to educate on the critical role of a healthy lifestyle in reducing the risk factors associated with the development of lung cancer. As part of DFC’s 30-day calendar of free fitness events, community hubs, classes and activities, MSD hosted an informative booth at Dubai Run and Ride Central, DFC’s newest fitness village conveniently located at One Central near the Emirates Towers and Dubai World Trade Centre metro stations, where participants had the opportunity to test the health of their lungs through a spirometer breathing test.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Public Health Sector at MoHAP, said: "We are delighted to collaborate with MSD GCC in launching this awareness campaign. Initiatives such as these have a crucial role in improving the overall quality of life, reducing the incidence of lung cancer, and promoting disease prevention in the UAE. The objectives of this initiative are aligned with the National Wellbeing Strategy 2031, which aims to position the UAE as a global leader in quality of life and promote a comprehensive understanding of wellbeing. By raising awareness and highlighting the significance of regular screening and early detection, we can enhance treatment outcomes for patients and mitigate the mortality rates associated with lung cancer."

Ashraf Mallak, Managing Director, MSD GCC, said: "Our #EveryBreathCounts awareness campaign is more than just raising awareness of lung cancer. It is about empowering the UAE community to take control of their lung health. Through this campaign, we are advocating the adoption of healthier lifestyles and contributing to reducing the prevalence of the disease in the country. Additionally, we aim to dispel myths about lung cancer and promote early detection to help patients receive the treatment they need as soon as possible. By working together, we can make a difference in the fight against lung cancer."

Aisha Abdulla Al Mulla, Director at FoCP, said: "Friends of Cancer Patients welcomes such campaigns as #EveryBreathCounts to raise cancer awareness in the UAE. This initiative translates our shared visions of empowering individuals to take proactive steps in preventing and detecting lung cancer. By working together, we can significantly improve the lives of those affected by this disease and foster a healthier future for our community."

The leading cause of lung cancer globally is smoking, which is responsible for more than 85% of all lung cancer cases1 . In the UAE, smoking prevalence, especially among males, is a major concern4. Both active smoking (smoking cigarettes, shisha, and other tobacco products) and passive smoking (exposure to secondhand smoke) can increase the risk of developing lung cancer.5

While lung cancer is primarily caused by an external factor, namely smoking, genetic predisposition can also play a role in determining an individual's susceptibility to the disease. Specific genetic mutations and inherited traits can increase the risk of developing lung cancer3 4.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, avoiding tobacco use, promoting clean air initiatives, and taking appropriate safety precautions in occupational settings are key steps in reducing the risk of lung cancer. Regular screening and early detection can also improve outcomes for individuals at higher risk or with a family history of lung cancer5.

About MSD

For more than a century, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world's most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.

Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we collaborate with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs, and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease, and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola.

MSD products have been present for over 30 years in the GCC region through its local distributors in the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar & Oman, and MSD ranks among the leading pharmaceutical companies in the region. MSD provides innovative medications in several therapeutic areas, including Anti-Infectives, Diabetes, HCV, HIV, Oncology, and Anesthesia in addition to several specialized Vaccines. For more information, visit www.msd.com and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter at MSD GCC.

About Dubai Fitness Challenge

An initiative of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) was created to support His Highness’ vision of making Dubai one of the most active cities in the world. This seventh edition of DFC offers an action-packed calendar of sporting events and activities across the 30 days and will bring friends, families, visitors, colleagues, and communities together as they commit to 30 minutes of exercise for 30 consecutive days. Featuring flagship events, Dubai Run and Dubai Ride along with the addition of Dubai Stand Up Paddle, this year’s Challenge runs from Saturday 28 October to Sunday 26 November 2023. 

1 Lung cancer statistics: World cancer research fund international (2022) WCRF International. Available at: www.wcrf.org/cancer-trends/lung-cancer-statistics/ (Accessed: 30 October 2023).

2 (No date) 1 896 4 807 - international agency for research on cancer. Available at: gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/784-united-arab-emirates-fact-sheets.pdf (Accessed: 30 October 2023).

3 Lung cancer risk factors: Smoking & lung cancer (2023) Smoking & Lung Cancer | American Cancer Society. Available at: www.cancer.org/cancer/types/lung-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html (Accessed: 30 October 2023).

4 Yang, I.A., Holloway, J.W. and Fong, K.M. (2013) Genetic susceptibility to lung cancer and co-morbidities, Journal of thoracic disease. Available at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804872/ (Accessed: 30 October 2023)

5 Wang, Z. et al. (2023) Early detection and stratification of lung cancer aided by a cost-effective assay targeting circulating tumor DNA (ctdna) methylation - respiratory research, BioMed Central. Available at: respiratory-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12931-023-02449-8 (Accessed: 30 October 2023).

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