x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Do you think taboos surrounding cancer are leading to a reluctance from people to seek diagnosis?

Patients diagnosed with cancer are seeking repeated medical opinions, delaying treatment and risking their lives because of a "stigma" associated with the disease.

Patients diagnosed with cancer are seeking repeated medical opinions, delaying treatment and risking their lives because of a "stigma" associated with the disease. Doctors say a diagnosis of cancer, or saratan in Arabic, is traditionally taboo in many Arab nations, including the UAE, and many patients have worrying attitudes about the illness and subsequent life-saving treatments. Do you think these taboos surrounding cancer are leading to a reluctance from people to seek diagnosis? Click below to give your opinion. ---- "Saratan in this culture holds a different meaning and connotation than the word 'cancer' in the West," said Dr David Spence, the chair of the department of medicine at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. ---- "For people who haven't been exposed to western medicine and thinking there is still a thought that being diagnosed with saratan is similar to being given a death sentence. But this is wrong and it's a bad mindset in the culture." ---- Cancer rates are on the rise in the UAE and doctors say late diagnoses and treatment, in many cases, mean patients are dying from often treatable forms of the disease. Only about one-third of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the UAE are in the early stages of the disease, according to estimates by cancer specialists. A late diagnosis means more invasive treatment and higher chances of death.