New treatment options offer hope for Saudi ovarian cancer patients

Group of specialists are seen speaking to the media on the sidelines of a conference in Jeddah, titled “The Current Reality and Future Solutions for Ovarian Cancer". (Photo courtesy: supplied)
Updated 23 October 2017
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New treatment options offer hope for Saudi ovarian cancer patients

JEDDAH: Saudi women are falling victims to ovarian cancer due to late detection of the disease, a medical conference warned in Jeddah on Sunday.
Dr. Shadi Al-Khayyat, an oncology consultant at King Abdul Aziz University Hospital in Jeddah, said that there are new treatment options for ovarian cancer, which represents 4 percent of all cancer cases among women globally. 
Dr. Al-Khayyat was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a conference in Jeddah, titled “The Current Reality and Future Solutions for Ovarian Cancer.”
The event, organized by the Saudi Oncology Society (SOS) and AstraZeneca, attracted several medical experts.
Al-Khayyat said that therapeutic options for ovarian cancer have not seen any significant development for many years; it was mostly confined to surgery, which was considered as a first step in the treatment pathway followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, which has led ovarian cancer patients to face difficult choices. This was until a new class of medications, called PARP inhibitors, were developed, led by AstraZeneca, which has shown significant improvement in delaying disease progression compared to older therapies. 
This new class of medications is most effective in ovarian cancer patients who have a mutation in the BRCA gene, and is administered orally. It delays the need for further chemotherapy, and provides a better chance in delaying disease progression, which allows patients to carry on with their daily activities and strengthens them in their fight against the disease.
Trad Al-Khelaiwi, oncology business unit director and head of governmental affairs at AstraZeneca, stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to raise awareness on ovarian cancer among all segments of Saudi society, revealing that ovarian cancer mortality in the Kingdom in the early stages of the disease is only 19 percent compared to 81 percent for advanced stages. Unfortunately, only 36 percent of women are diagnosed at an early stage, while the majority are diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Dr. Faisal Al-Safi, section head and consultant in gynecologic oncology, department of oncology at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City/National Guard Health Affairs, said that ovarian cancer therapy has been improving due to the development of scientific research particularly during the last five years, which led to important strides offering more promising solutions for the disease, which causes an annual mortality of around 150,000 women globally.
He emphasized the importance of undergoing breast cancer BRCA gene testing for all ovarian cancer patients to identify who will most benefit from the new available treatment options. 
Dr. Meteb Al-Fohaidi, president of the Saudi Oncology Society, said that the high number of deaths among ovarian cancer patients is related to several factors, including the difficulty of its identification before reaching advanced stages due to the nature of cancer cell proliferation.
Previous studies revealed that 13 percent of doctors in Saudi Arabia are unaware of the latest recommendations of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and the Society of Gynecological Oncology on the importance of BRCA testing when needed.
Al-Fohaidi stressed on the importance of raising public health awareness, saying that there is a relation between ovarian cancer and breast cancer, as BRCA mutations are responsible for 5-10 percent of all breast cancer cases, which suggests the importance of conducting a thorough family history for breast cancer patients. 


Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

Updated 20 September 2018
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Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

  • Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week
  • The Grazia Middle East Style Awards will this year take place in Riyadh

RIYADH: Emerging Saudi fashion designers will get a chance to showcase their work alongside internationally renowned peers — including Yahya Couture, Yuliya Yanina and Lama Askari — during the second edition of Saudi Fashion Week, which runs from October 21 to 25, 2018.

The dates were revealed by the event’s founder, Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, who made a statement with her choice of outfit for the official announcement: a black abaya with a traditional Saudi hand embroidered, red design.

The princess, who is honorary president of the Arab Fashion Council in Saudi Arabia, said she always dreamed of being part of the fashion industry and is working hard to help the dreams ofothers come true as well, by supporting local designers,providing them with a platform on which to showcase their creativity, and supplying them with the tools they need to succeed.

“This fashion week is sponsored by the GCA and we want to highlight our Saudi culture,” she said when asked how the second edition will differ from the inaugural event in April 2018. “Every designer is unique and designs in a different way. Our culture is not only about wearing an abaya; it’s what makes you comfortable as a person.

“We have more local names coming out and a program to support emerging designers. This is a platform with which we support Saudi designers, in their country, which they represent.”

However, it also embraces the wider international fashion industry, as well.

“it’s an exchange of cultures. It’s a platform for Saudi and other countries,” said Princess Noura. “When we speak about fashion, it’s a mirror that reflects our culture and modernity.”

To help launch the careers of Saudis who are just starting out in the fashion industry, a “Top emerging Saudi designers” program has been developed, and the country’s fashion community has chosen six designers to participate, some of whom are recentcollege graduates. It will offer them support and give them real-world experience of the fashion industry.

Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week, with three runway shows each day, beginning at 8pm. In addition, a fashion festival featuring pop-up stores will run throughout the event. The Grazia Middle East Style Awards, which is usually held in Dubai, will this year take place in Riyadh on the final day of Saudi Fashion Week.

“I want every designer in Saudi Arabia to not be afraid and to come out and show what they are made of. Be Brave,” added Princess Noura.