Zahra association launches breast cancer awareness campaign in Saudi Arabia

Zahra association launches breast cancer awareness campaign in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and Princess Haifa bint Faisal, president of the Zahra association, launch the breast cancer awareness campaign on Thursday. (SPA)
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Updated 02 October 2020

Zahra association launches breast cancer awareness campaign in Saudi Arabia

Zahra association launches breast cancer awareness campaign in Saudi Arabia
  • It focuses on the role the environment can play in women’s well-being

JEDDAH: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and Princess Haifa bint Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, president of the Zahra Breast Cancer Association, launched the annual national breast cancer awareness campaign on Thursday.
The association was one of the first bodies in the country dedicated to raising awareness about the disease and providing support to patients and survivors. And its mission is far from over, with more outreach programs and initiatives in the pipeline.
While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to follow the vital steps toward detecting the disease in its early stages, but the association is leading the fight to highlight the need for regular checks. This year’s campaign is called “Al-Afu wal Afiyah” and will, according to Princess Haifa, run online through social media and e-marketing campaigns.
As always, the association’s campaign aims to correct misconceptions about breast cancer and raise awareness among women in particular, but also society in general. This year’s campaign also focuses on the role the environment can play in women’s well-being. It stresses the importance of regular testing, even for those living a healthy lifestyle, and encourages early breast cancer screening.
The campaign will feature online workshops and lectures and discussions with women currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer and women who have survived it.
Princess Haifa added that the association has several ongoing partnerships with organizations in the public and private sectors that contribute to its development projects across the Kingdom, including its annual breast cancer awareness campaign.
Known to be the most common cancer in women worldwide, it is the leading cause of death among Saudi women, according to a retrospective epidemiological study conducted in 2012.
The findings showed high-incidence rates occurring at an earlier age in Saudi women than in those in Western countries.
Since early 2003, awareness workshops and seminars have been conducted in a number of institutions in Riyadh, and awareness campaigns run in shopping centers were later expanded throughout the Kingdom.
The association will take part in the Civil Society Communication Group Forum (C20) of the G20 Summit on Wednesday, Oct. 7, which will address support for cancer survivors and the best ways to enhance their role in society.

Saudi women making their mark in science

Saudi women making their mark in science
Updated 19 January 2021

Saudi women making their mark in science

Saudi women making their mark in science

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.
Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.
In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.
Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.
Suha Kayum
Research engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum — a research engineer with Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center — was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramco’s reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.
Kayum was a developer for the company’s in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Lab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmed’s main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.
She later joined the company’s Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s Research and Development Center.
Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham Abuljadayel

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.
A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.
Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.
Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan
Petroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.
As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.
Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.
She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-Johani
Scientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.
Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-Numair
Molecular bioinformatics scientist
Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.
She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.
Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.
Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.