Emirati-led Study Sets Grounds on Necessary Covid-19 Screening for Cancer Patients

Emirati-led Study Sets Grounds on Necessary Covid-19 Screening for Cancer Patients


  • UAE based cancer study, the first study outlining the necessity of COVID 19 testing for cancer patients (Covid-19).
  • The study was supported and conducted at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai and it was published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA Oncology), one of the largest international peer reviewed journals specializing in the field of cancer.
  • The study showed that almost 10% of Cancer Patients experiencing no COVID -19 symptoms were found to be positive for the virus.


Dubai-UAE, 3 June 2020 – An Emirati lead team of expert Oncologists at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai has published the first study that provides deep insight into the best medical practices to be followed when treating cancer patients during the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19).

Cancer is more than often a life-threatening illness, and its treatment cannot be put on hold. Patients usually undergo daily or weekly treatment sessions for prolonged periods of time to treat their various malignancies. Despite the significant drop in immunity that many cancer treatments cause, continuity of  care remains of vital importance even during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving no option to cancer patients but to seek  ongoing treatment. A continuous discussion has been taking place amongst doctors who specialize in the field of Oncology regarding the elevated risks COVID 19 may pose to patients seeking cancer treatments.

In May 2020 Dr. Humaid bin Harmal Al Shamsi – Head of Medical Oncology at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai & President of the Emirates Cancer Society  and Dr. Sadir Al Rawi Head of Surgery and Surgical Oncology  at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai , launched a study examining 89 cancer patients who had no symptoms of COVID -19 before starting chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The study found almost 10% of patients to be infected with the virus while being asymptomatic; accordingly, these patients were isolated.

“Chemotherapy or radiation drastically reduce the immunity of a patient. If a patient is COVD-19 positive and receives his cancer treatment, there is a huge risk that they might have serious or even fatal complications. Our study found that although some of the patients have no symptoms, they can still be COVID-19 positive which could potentially become a life threat if cancer treatments are allocated. By periodically carrying out COVID-19 screening tests to cancer patients before their scheduled treatment sessions and isolating the positive patients, we are saving the patients from possible complications and reducing the risk of exposure of other cancer patients,” Dr Al Shamsi explained.

This study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA Oncology), one of the largest international peer reviewed journals specializing in the field of cancer and tumor treatment, is considered the first research source demonstrating the need for active surveillance of cancer patients for COVID -19.

“At Al Zahra Hospital Dubai we place utmost importance on medical research driving our evidence based delivery of care.  Setting proven protocols for cancer patients’ treatment during these times of uncertainty is essential to reduce the risk for a vulnerable segment. I am confident that other medical institutions from all over the world will find this study interest, and will implement similar protocols moving forward Dr. Sadir Alrawi, Head of Surgical Oncology Al Zahra Hospital Dubai


**The link of the study: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2766703?resultClick=1


Boiler Plate – Al Zahra Hospital Dubai

Al Zahra Hospital Dubai – is a leading healthcare provider in the UAE and a milestone in the country’s healthcare sector, with the brand braking ground in 1975, as the first private healthcare provider. The hospital is located in Dubai, on Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Barsha, catering to local and international patients through over 250 Doctors and more than 40 medical specialties. Accredited by the Joint Commission International, the hospital holds various distinguished credentials, with centers of excellence in Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery, Heart Attack Center and more.

Dedicated to delivering world class healthcare, the hospital is a leader in implementing technological advancements and medical practices, housing the region’s first advanced 3Teasla MRI & the first private Hyperbaric Oxygenation Chamber. In 2016, Al Zahra Hospital Dubai was the first hospital to introduce water birthing to Dubai.

In 2020, the hospital received two JCI accreditations for the Breast Cancer and Heart Attack centers.

Some of the most sought-after services at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai include- Cardiology, Oncology, Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Spine Surgery, Joint Replacement, Interventional Medicine, Maternity, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Internal Medicine & more.



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