FOCP extends unconditional, compassionate support
to COVID-19 cancer patients
Four FOCP cancer patients in the UAE test positive for Coronavirus disease
Survivor Marwa: “A family visit that disregarded physical distancing policies caused my infection”
Sharjah, June 19, 2020:As four Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) cancer patients test positive for Coronavirus in the UAE, Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of FOCP, a UAE-based non-profit, has highlighted the imminent dangers of ignoring the precautionary health guidelines currently in place, especially amongst those who are immunocompromised and therefore, at greater risk of contracting the infection.
Of the four positive cases, one has not survived, one is under treatment, while the third and fourth has made a successful recovery.
Reports suggest that the cancer patients contracted the virus after ignoring the physical distancing protocols announced by the health authorities and the repeated advice issued by FOCP. One of the patients admitted to testing positive following a family visit while another caught the virus while undertaking social activities in public spaces.
Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi has emphasised that people who are in active cancer treatment, especially those taking medications that compromises their immune system, are at higher risk for COVID-19, if they fail to adhere to the precautionary and safety health measures.
She pointed out that FOCP had repeatedly raised awareness on this topic through its messaging in the media on the dangers associated with COVID-19 for cancer patients. She attributed the death of a breast cancer patient who succumbed to complications arising from the virus, on the failure to heed the health advice of the relevant authorities.
Confirming that a leukaemia cancer survivor and a breast cancer patient has made a full recovery from the infection while a breast cancer patient is currently under treatment, Dr. Madhi also pointed out that under the present circumstances, even family visits could have dangerous implications for cancer patients. She cited the case of leukaemia patient, Marwa, who tested positive after a family visit and had to endure a month-long treatment to recover completely.
21-year-old Marwa described how she had noticed signs of cold and flu after a family visit during the holy month of Ramadan. Soon thereafter, her condition took a turn for the worse, and her family took her to the hospital, where she tested positive.
“I was extremely fearful of COVID-19, especially since I am a leukaemia survivor,” said Marwa. “I felt helpless although I had my family’s support. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Prevention also assured me that since I was in the initial phase of the illness, it would be easier to treat and hope for full recovery.”
“As part of the treatment process, my family was quarantined while I had to be isolated. I went through a difficult time as I suffered from extreme fatigue and weakness. I was encouraged to boost my immunity levels by eating nutrient-dense fruits that provide all the essential vitamins to help the body fight the virus,” she added.
Speaking from personal experience, Marwa has advised community members, especially cancer patients, to stay at home and practice physical distancing. “If you test positive, do not panic, as this significantly lowers your immunity levels,” she said, adding that patients should heed doctors’ instructions at all times and work towards improving their immune systems.
FOCP: Pro-active engagement
FOCP had initiated steps such as relaying up-to-date scientific information from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to cancer patients and survivors as soon as the Coronavirus disease began its spread around the globe.
In addition, FOCP has also actively engaged with the cancer community to continuously raise awareness on the precautionary guidelines to be practiced including physical distancing, avoiding crowded places, regular hand washing, and ensuring sufficient stock of necessary medications and supplies.
The UAE-based organisation has called on cancer patients to ensure adequate sleeping hours, consume healthy foods based on doctor’s recommendations, take up sports, if possible, to maintain physical fitness. They have also advised patients to have regular check-ups and remote consultations with their doctors, and to periodically sterilise their homes.
FOCP’s pro-active and compassionate support for the cancer community stems from its awareness of the impact of the Coronavirus disease on those battling cancer. Patients undergoing chemotherapy, intensive radiotherapy, antibody treatments, or other cancer treatments, have weakened immune systems which heighten their risk of contracting COVID-19 than cancer survivors.
Donations save lives
Cancer patients who have tested positive for Coronavirus are being closely monitored and offered unconditional moral support by FOCP to help bring about a positive outcome on their treatment journey.
FOCP also provides financial support sourced via donations and contributions from the UAE community that enables the organisation to lend a greater range of aid and services to cancer patients and their families.
Interested donors can visit https://focp.ae/donate-programs/ to learn more about the various initiatives undertaken by FOCP for which they can offer support. Online donation coupons in denominations of AED 10, 50,100, 500, and 1,000 are also available for purchase at www.focp.ae/coupon/.