Together for Tomorrow, a campaign focused on early diagnosis and extending patients’ lives was launched during Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 30 November 2020: MSD, a leading global pharmaceutical company, has launched an awareness campaign titled ‘Together for Tomorrow’ to encourage early screening and ensure timely diagnosis of lung cancer patients in the United Arab Emirates.
Through the campaign, MSD is collaborating with physicians in the country to increase awareness of lung cancer as well as early diagnosis. Preventive measures and screening protocols are crucial as usually symptoms of lung cancer do not appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage. In instances where lung cancer does cause symptoms, it is often confused for infections or as an effect from smoking, delaying diagnosis.
The incidence of lung cancer in the UAE is at 4% with a mortality rate of 8.8 %. By 2040, the UAE is expected to have as many as 1020 cases. Mortality is often a result of patients presenting late when the cancer is already locally advanced. Around 80% of patients with lung cancer have stage III or IV disease at presentation.
Dr.Falah Al-Khatib, Consultant Oncologist and Radiotherapist, Mediclinic City Hospital said, “It is important for patients to understand that they can have improved chances of survival if they are diagnosed on time. Early diagnosis is important as lung cancer is largely asymptomatic and internalization of tumors means patients are not alerted by obvious physical changes. Therapies today are increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells while providing patients with more time without disease progression and a chance at a longer life. If lung cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage, before it has spread, it is more likely to be successfully treated.”
The 5-year survival rate for all people with all types of lung cancer is 19%. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 84% of all lung cancer diagnoses. The 5-year survival rate for NSCLC is 24%, in the case metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, the 5-year survival rate is 6%.
Mazen Altaruti, AVP Managing Director GCC at MSD added, “With the aim of improving the lives of patients, we have the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program studying the efficacy of our therapies across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. Through the campaign we want to increase patient awareness about lung cancer and where to access treatment. MSD is supporting patients and their families, advancing research and fostering greater awareness and understanding of the disease. Over the past decade, innovation and scientific advances have helped lead to more survivors.”
Scientific data was released at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress on long term survival benefit and durable responses for Immunotherapy (when compared to chemotherapy) as first line treatment in patients with metastatic NSCLC. This was one of the first phase 3 studies that had demonstrated an overall 5-year survival advantage, when being treated with single IO agent. Again, this was a population that had high PD-L1 or a tumor proportion score of 50% or more.6 These results represent longest follow-up of an immunotherapy in a randomized phase-3 study for first-line treatment of lung cancer.
For more than a century, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world's most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. MSD products has been present for over 30 years in the GULF region through its local distributors in the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar & Oman and MSD ranks amongst the leading pharmaceutical companies in the region. MSD provides innovative medications in several therapeutic areas, including Anti-infectives, Cardiovascular, Asthma & Allergy, Diabetes, HCV, HIV, Pain & Inflammation, Osteoporosis, Oncology, Fertility, Ophthalmic, and Anesthesia in addition to several specialized Vaccines.