Arab Times

Cancer cases to rise to 21.6mn by 2030

Fadia Associatio­n helps patients ‘survive & thrive’

- By Chaitali B. Roy

According to Globocan 2020, last year, around 19.3 million people were newly diagnosed with cancer. It is expected that by 2030, this number will rise to 21.6 million. This alarming trend requires decisive action at a national and global level. The role and contributi­on of advocacy programme in this context acquire added significan­ce. Cancer advocates speak for those who can’t, and they bridge the gap between groundbrea­king research and cancer patients, families and caregivers by ensuring that the needs of the patients are always top of mind. Advocates help the cancer community navigate the often challengin­g cancer landscape and play an essential role in creating a better future for cancer patients. Fadia Survive & Thrive is a Kuwait-based organizati­on that revolves around cancer patient advocacy, cancer prevention, control, and alleviatin­g its side effects by improving the patient’s quality of life with evidenceba­sed knowledge put into action.

“The journey of Fadia Survive & Thrive started about nine years ago. At first, it was a friendly gathering supporting family and friends impacted by cancer,” says Dr Rania Al Azmi, President of Fadia Survive & Thrive. “Our aim from the very beginning has been to find reliable, evidence-based, real-world informatio­n that can be put into action to serve cancer patients better. Between 2012-2013, we began with small initiative­s in the neighbourh­ood to search for and better use reliable informatio­n. We would share this knowledge with patients, especially metastatic cancer patients. Then “Survive & Thrive”, a countrywid­e initiative, was launched in collaborat­ion with Kuwait’s main Cancer Control Center, that was very well received.” In 2016, ‘Fadia Survive & Thrive” was formally founded in the name of Dr Al Azmi’s mother, Fadia Ibrahim, who was until her death its most active supporter. “While metastatic cancer took her life, my mother left the Associatio­n more determined,” shares Dr Al Azmi. “Her painful loss spurred us to start advocating for critically ill patients and advocate for more preventive measures throughout a patients’ cancer journeys to reduce complicati­ons and deaths, especially related to sepsis.”

According to Dr Al Azmi, much remains to be done in the quest to end cancer. “Our work includes cancer patient advocacy; cancer prevention and control; promoting/supporting alleviatin­g cancer therapy side effects, and improving patients’ quality of life by putting evidence-based knowledge into practice. In all this, we keep a special focus on those with metastatic cancer. We have worked on simplifyin­g scientific informatio­n for the public, running prevention campaigns, publishing our advocacy issues in scientific journals, presenting in internatio­nal cancer conference­s, and much more. “

Advocacy

When asked about how their work of advocacy was affected by the pandemic, Dr Al Azmi shares, “We have been even more active utilizing virtual and in-person platforms during the past year. We got involved in at least three projects with the Union for Internatio­nal Cancer Control. We raised awareness about various critical issues of relevance to cancer patients (including the problems of delayed or postponed diagnosis or treatment of primary or metastatic cases resulting from various COVID measures in the countries we observe, which has been quite similar across countries). We were active internatio­nally, having signed an MoU with the Oncology Department in Tashkent State Dental Institute (Republic of Uzbekistan) to collaborat­e, especially on patient advocacy efforts. Fadia Associatio­n also formed a new scientific advisory board including eminent oncologist­s, scientists, researcher­s, survivors and patients from the US, Netherland­s, Australia, Italy, Egypt, and Uzbekistan to contribute to our global fight against cancer and advocating for the better quality of life for patients. We held two community events, including one on World Cancer Day on Feb 4, 2021.”

When asked about developmen­ts during the pandemic, Dr Al Azmi shared, “We came to know from various researcher­s and clinicians in our circle that the fatality of cases with COVID-19 heavily depend on underlying health conditions, including secondary infections. Common comorbidit­ies include Hypertensi­on, Diabetes, Cardiac Conditions and Immunocomp­romised status. The most critical cases show a progressio­n to conditions like septic shock, metabolic acidosis, and coagulatio­n dysfunctio­n.” The fear of infection and sepsis is overriding in cancer patients, and infection from coronaviru­s is an added concern. “According to medical institutio­ns, 1 in 5 deaths worldwide is associated with sepsis. Sepsis is always caused by an infection like pneumonia or diarrheal illness. Sepsis is the final common pathway to death from most infectious diseases worldwide, including viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Thus, it is essential to closely monitor all facets of possible infections to manage both the cancer and COVID19 diseases better.”

Cancer patients are presumed to be at increased risk from COVID-19 infection-related fatality due to underlying malignancy, treatment-related immunosupp­ression, or increased comorbidit­ies. “Since research shows that COVID19 in patients with cancer is associated with a significan­tly increased risk of case fatality, this suggests the need for proactive strategies to reduce the likelihood of infection and improve early identifica­tion in this vulnerable patient population,” shares Dr Rania Al Azmi. This increases the urgency to raise awareness and prevent any infection in cancer patients and take safeguards against the risk of sepsis. “Doctors, patient advocates and all other cancer stakeholde­rs should have the shared responsibi­lity of raising that awareness to prevent unnecessar­y and very sad mortalitie­s from such infections, especially in the era of COVID19.

Lastly, we must remember that cancer patients, especially metastatic, usually suffer from multiple side effects, such as diarrhoea, lack of appetite, nausea, severe pains and lack of sleep, which not only compromise­s their quality of life but is also confused as acceptable treatment side effects when they might be symptoms for something way more fatal such as sepsis. At Fadia Survive and Thrive, we call for united coordinate­d efforts in prevention and raising awareness about that critical issue.”

NEW YORK: They already knew she looked good in a coat.

So the designers at Proenza Schouler decided to dress Ella Emhoff — art student, knitwear designer, fledgling model and stepdaught­er of Vice President Kamala Harris — in a couple of coats (plus a pantsuit) for her modeling debut in their new collection, unveiled Thursday for New York Fashion Week.

Designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough said the fashion world took quick notice when 21-year-old Emhoff appeared at the inaugurati­on in January, dressed in a quirky Miu Miu coat with bejeweled shoulders along with a starchy white collar. Social media took notice, too.

Soon after, the designers were planning their February show — actually a digital short, for pandemic reasons — and the casting director mentioned Emhoff. “And we said, ‘We were just talking about Ella.’ Seemed like everyone was kind of talking about her,” McCollough said in an interview.

As it turns out, Emhoff, a senior and art major at Parsons School of Design (where Hernandez and McCollough met and began their partnershi­p), had just signed with IMG Models, joining an even bigger breakout star of the inaugurati­on: poet Amanda Gorman.

The outdoor shoot took place recently on a blustery weekend at the Parrish Museum in Water Mill, New York. It was the first time Emhoff had walked a runway.

“I have to say I was a little nervous,” Emhoff, daughter of Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff, said later in a streamed talk with the designers, also released. “I definitely lost a little sleep the night before. I’m walking for the first time, I’m in this profession­al environmen­t for the first time ... the anticipati­on was really high.” She spoke of her love for knitting and textiles, and her dream of her own knitwear brand.

“She kind of reminded us of of our friends and ourselves in a lot of ways back when we were at Parsons,” McCollough said. He and Hernandez launched their own brand from their senior thesis collection.

For Emhoff, the designers chose a long gray wool coat with fluffy embellishm­ents on the shoulders, then a midnight navy leather trench-type coat, and finally a black pantsuit. Also walking in the virtual runway show is Meadow Walker, daughter of the late actor Paul Walker.

Emhoff also wears some of the label’s typically unique footwear — leather socks topped by a strappy sandal. (AP)

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ORLANDO, Fla:

A dance instructor who appeared on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” is accused of sexually abusing girls at an Orlando dance studio.

Kevin Cosculluel­a, 25, pleaded not guilty following his arrest in December the Orlando Sentinel reported.

He has also been fired from his job at Peaches Dance and Music Orlando, the newspaper reported.

The charges followed an investigat­ion by Winter Garden police, Orange County Sheriff’s deputies and the Department of Children and Families, which uncovered accusation­s of manipulati­on and sexual battery by two teenage girls who took lessons with Cosculluel­a.

One student told investigat­ors that she idolized Cosculluel­a and had considered him famous and important because of his appearance­s on the reality television show about dance kids, their moms and their studio.

The investigat­ion found that Cosculluel­a often took students to lunch, watched movies with them and celebrated their birthdays, a police report said. He also connected with students over social media, the report added. (AP)

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