Three years of “Dunya” Women’s Cancer Clinic services were a haven for hundreds of Palestinian women
In the midst of celebrations of the Women’s International Day in 2011, the city of Ramallah in Palestine witnessed the opening ceremony of the first specialized center for women’s cancers, “Dunya”. This event was the result of joint efforts and work that lasted for several years between the Health Work Committee and the Swiss organization of Medipalestine. Since its opening, the center offered high quality health services for women from different areas of Palestine.
Dunya Women’s Cancer Center is a non-profit health center that aims to provide high quality health services. The center depends on voluntary professional support that is provided by a group of highly qualified local and international specialists.
Additionally, Dunya center received specialized professional consultations from international medical organizations for one year such as:
- Basel University Hospital, Switzerland
- Lucerne State Hospital, Switzerland
- Leuven University Hospital, Belgium
- The International Gynecological Cancer Society
Moreover, the center receives financial and moral support from local and international community, because they believe in the importance of its services.
Dunya center provides high quality integrated medical services to women with breast and gynecological cancers according to international standards. Patients receive early diagnostic services; follow up care, in addition to drawing up treatment plans and a close follow up.
The Center aims to develop its complementary health services such as Physiotherapy to help reduce the side effects of medical and surgical therapies, in addition to providing psychological help to the patients, their families and the center's staff. The center also aims to offer Palliative Care to chronic cases.
The center has been equipped with most advanced equipment and a video conference facility. This facility has two aims:
- First, providing the opportunity for 'distance learning’ by international experts in the field of women cancers.
- Second, facilitating the exchange of medical data, laboratory tests and radiology exams with experts for the purpose of discussing cases and diagnosing them online.
The center provides 'second opinion’ service through its local and international staff members. This service is offered for cases that were diagnosed outside the center and would like to have a second opinion from other specialists in the field according to international standards.
Since its opening in 8th march, 2011, the center received around 2700 cases for breast and gynecological examinations among which around 1500 women were diagnosed with breast, uterus or ovarian benign tumors and they are followed up at the center. The remaining had either and need periodic follow up or they came for early detection and their examination results were negative.
Out of 400 performed pap smears, 32 cases were diagnosed with pre-cervical cancer; follow up plans were prepared for these cases. And 75 cases were diagnosed with breast cancer.
According to reported cases in 2010 in Palestine, breast cancer ranks the first among female cancers in Palestine. There were 254 registered breast cancer cases forming 18.8% of the total reported cancer cases in the West Bank. In 2010, breast cancer formed 34.9% of the total reported cancer cases in the age group of 20 to 59 years. It is worth to mention that there were 3 breast cancer cases among males and these were in the age group of 60 years and above.
Breast cancer is considered the most common type of cancer among women in the world. International statistics shows that there is one mortality case every 15 minutes because of late diagnosis. Palestinian statistics estimates that there is one out 12 to 13 women who develops this disease.
Early diagnosis is the best guarantee to recover from breast cancer. Prognosis reaches up to 90% (9 out of 10 cases) when it is diagnosed in its early stages and when rapid appropriate treatment is adopted.
The idea of the project came out in response to the suffering of the Palestinian women, especially that most women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have limited access to health services. This is a fact that was raised by many international health organizations. Israeli occupation, closures and checkpoints caused deterioration in the economical situation and led to deteriorated scientific health services and the absence of university teaching hospitals or hospitals specializing in women cancers.
Our message to the international and local community is to kindly contribute in the alleviation of pain and suffering among Palestinian women. This can be done through support to Dunya center and the social cases fund so that it can continue in providing, developing and expanding its services. It is worth to mention that examinations for diagnosis are costly and only limited number of Palestinian women can afford them, which puts the woman in the risk of disease and even death.
We trust you would support any national health project that aims to alleviate the suffering of our people that is under occupation and its oppressive practices. Occupation does not only target the Palestinian’s land, but also his life, health and future.
It is a promise… Together we can eliminate breast cancer and tumors of women
Administrative and Medical Director