202086 State of breast healthcare in Abu Dhabi, UAE: Findings from a community needs assessment

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jalaa Taher , Public Health and Research Department, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Cother Hajat, MBBS PhD MFPH , Public Health and Research Department, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Oliver Harrison , Public Health and Research Department, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The state of breast healthcare in Abu Dhabi, UAE: findings from a community needs assessment


Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer in women in the UAE. In order to determine the need, demand and barriers for breast cancer screening, a comprehensive needs assessment was undertaken as part of the Global Initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness, Abu Dhabi.


Quantitative data were collated from several sources including breast cancer screening providers and the National Cancer Registry. In total, 426 key informant interviews were undertaken to qualitatively identify gaps and barriers to screening .



Breast cancer accounts for 38% of all cancers and 28% of all deaths in women in the UAE;

87% of breast cancer cases occur after the age of 40;

64% of breast cancer cases present at late stage compared with 15-20% in best practice systems;

The mortality rate for breast cancer is 44% compared with around 20-25% in best practice systems;

Breast cancer risk increases with age and it is more prevalent in Non nationals than Nationals. However in the younger age group of 25- 44 year olds it was most prevalent in Nationals;

Screening mammogram rates were 12% of eligible women in 2007 and 16% in 2008 compared with 50 - 80% in best practice systems.


Barriers affecting utilization of breast screening services included fear of breast cancer and losing a breast, costs of screening/treatment and a lack of awareness of existing facilities, methods for early detection and the importance of early treatment.

Common myths and beliefs included a lack of curability of breast cancer, the effect of treatment on femininity and that it is caused by a curse.

Dissatisfaction of breast health care was due to factors such as lack of information, counseling and distrust of providers

Conclusion and Recommendations

The findings of this study have been instrumental in planning the direction of the breast cancer programme in Abu Dhabi and further work is underway to improve the availability of screening, increase awareness, and understand the barriers for women seeking care.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the current state of breast healthcare in a quantitative and qualitative community needs assessment

Keywords: Breast Cancer Screening, Breast Cancer Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have presented the Health Authority- Abu Dhabi in different international conferences related to breast cancer. I am one of the authors for the abstract
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.