Novartis brings leading breast cancer doctors together in Saudi Arabia

Side of Novartis' Breast Cancer Summit 2017 in at the Sofitel Jeddah. (Photo courtesy: supplied)
Updated 12 October 2017

Novartis brings leading breast cancer doctors together in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Marking the month of October as breast cancer awareness month, Novartis brought together Saudi Arabia’s leading doctors treating breast cancer at the Sofitel Jeddah, bringing to the fore the latest advancements in breast cancer treatments and patient quality of life protocols.
Novartis provides innovative health care solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies.
In the Kingdom, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer of which women are diagnosed. In 2013, 29.1% of all cancer incidences were breast cancer, where the highest incidence rates were reported in the Eastern Province and the median age being 50.
The incidence rates by region were recorded as: Eastern Province 41.0/100,000; Riyadh at 29.3/100,000; Makkah at 25.3/100,000; Northern region at 25.0/100,000; and Tabuk at 24.9/100,000.
A number of factors are attributed to the rising numbers which is not unique to the Kingdom, however, the Ministry of Health estimates that the rate will quadruple in the Middle East over the next 20 years.
Awareness efforts to drive early detection are significantly helping patients come to a better prognosis and their overall quality of life. However, awareness levels are still reported to be low Kingdom wide. Dr. Adel El-Sayes, medical director of the Saudi Cancer Foundation said: “Management and treatment of cancer has significantly evolved over the years. We understand the disease better, that resulted in what we have today — better treatment options and protocols to manage the diagnosis versus what we had even five years ago. Today what we believe we now need are better strategies to raise levels of understanding for patients and their families. It’s a critical component that we work together to ease the burden of a diagnosis and encourage patients to approach their conditions more holistically.”
Treatment and management of a cancer diagnosis have evolved dramatically in the last decade. Chemotherapy is no longer the only answer and there are oral therapies that are far more forgiving on the body and specifically target breast cancer.
The new treatment protocol was approved in the Kingdom and is specifically for metastasized breast cancer and has proven to have a higher success rate with much lower side effects. This gives way for more patients and their caregivers to get better treatment and a greater quality of living while being treated.
A new area of exploration for patient health management is holistic well-being with nutritional, emotional and physical wellness approached and incorporated with the treatment protocol developed for each patient. Patient health care services have expanded from medication-driven to overall well-being driven treatment protocols of looking at patients and their all-around needs.
Speaking on the unmet needs of breast cancer patients, Prof. Ahmed Ali Saadeddin, consultant in clinical oncology and clinical tutor at the Department of Adult Oncology at King Abdul Aziz Medical City/National Guard Health Affair Riyadh discussed the emotional and psychological toll a diagnosis like breast cancer has on patients and their immediate loved ones.
“A breast cancer diagnosis can bring about a continuous amount of stigma for patients in the Kingdom and significant stress from the judgment they endure from family and society, over and above the stress of a new diagnosis. The emotional needs of a breast cancer patient occur over a spectrum of social, psychological and physiological burdens for both the patient and their family. Assessment of this need is a critical step in providing high-quality care for patients that cannot be overlooked in favor of only a medication.”
He added: “It is very important to stress the fact that there has been a significant improvement in the outcome of treatment for breast cancer in view of a better understanding of the disease, more personalized treatment approaches with the use of targeted and biological therapies, as well as excellent progress in research to understand the mechanism of resistance of such therapies.”
More than 65% of Saudi women are diagnosed with regional and distant breast cancer which represents advanced stages in breast cancer. Advancements and medical breakthroughs in breast cancer today presents hope of a normal life after cancer. The therapies now approved for treatment of breast cancer are more targeted to directly affect the breast cancer with no need for hospitalization resulting from significantly less impact on the body overall in comparison to previous treatments.
“A late diagnosis today does not mean the end of patients’ lives, rather the outlook is far more positive. More research is being done to find answers to improve the quality of life for those patients. Today we are hopeful for a good outcome for our patients with more modalities and strategies for managing the disease and the treatment of symptoms,” said Dr. Meteb Al-Foheidi, medical oncology consultant, assistant professor and medical oncology block coordinator at King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health and Science in Jeddah.

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

Updated 25 November 2020

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

  • Use of drones by cameraman brings history to life in one of KSA’s most famous archaeological sites

MAKKAH: A Saudi aerial photographer’s passion for history has won him global acclaim for images revealing the secrets of AlUla Old Town.

Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement.

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

Rich in history, the region was an ancient trade station linking the north and south of the peninsula and one of the main stopping-off points for pilgrims traveling between Syria and Makkah.

Al-Suhaimi told Arab News that his inspiration to photograph the area from the air came from his deep-rooted desire to find out more about the country’s ancient civilizations.

“The idea from the onset revolved around simulating the history of AlUla region, which has become one of the most important heritage attractions on a local and international level.

“The location includes stone landmarks and high mountains which set a breathtaking rocky harmony depicted by the drones of aerial photographers.

“It was the place of people who set the link with us on architectural and human levels. 

The region is one of the great forgotten treasures of antiquity. (Social media)

They built a town which bears witness to the magnificence and cultural depth and momentum of its human legacy,” he said. Studies of AlUla’s castles have proved that the site was once a thriving community, Al-Suhaimi added. “Photographing these places in all their detail only adds to my enthusiasm for transmitting images to a world craving for the secrets of these places of old times to be unveiled.”

The high-flying lensman has snapped all of AlUla Old Town’s castles and villages, as well as the castle of Musa bin Nusayr, and the Aja and Salma mountains which rise to 1,000 meters.

By using drones, Al-Suhaimi has been able to get close-up pictures of the houses and buildings that occupy the site. “There are monolithic houses that reflect the depth of relationships that linked those people who fused with each other as if they were one family.”


AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

He pointed out that although the houses seemed to be randomly clustered together, they were actually “architectural enigmas” which had been cleverly designed to ensure a smooth flow of air in and around them.

Aerial photographs of the town had also raised questions about how its people had been able to move around from building to building in such a close-knit environment.

Al-Suhaimi said he had gained all the necessary licenses to operate drones in the area. “We were keen on taking pictures and transmitting them to the whole world, as internationally it is one of the most outstanding Islamic cities. Its mud houses are living witnesses that resisted time.”

He added that he had been astonished by the positive global feedback from his photographs of the region. One notable feature of AlUla Old Town is the Tantora sundial. The shadow that it cast was used to mark the beginning of the winter planting season.

“They set stones atop one another so that the shadow would be projected on the tip of the stone once per year, which is evidence of the astronomy legacy of the people of the region,” said Al-Suhaimi.