UAE Cancer Patients Need Support


Fraser Clarke

Cancer specialists are not offering patients enough psychological support according to recently published research in the UAE.

Findings issued in the ‘Supportive Care in Cancer’ journal were taken from a survey of more than 200 outpatients from a Cancer centre in Abu Dhabi, showing that medics normally excelled in meeting the physical needs of patients - however little was done to meet the psychological needs.

The research team concluded that; “physicians significantly underestimated the unmet psychological supportive care needs of their patients.” This lead to calls being made for more research into the disconnect between the psychological needs of Cancer patients, and the physical factors often focused on by oncologists.

Studies have shown that stress and anxiety related to the fear of Cancer care can lead to treatment being less effective, whilst in severe cases medics can develop clinical depression if their psychological symptoms are not dealt with at an early stage.

Although concerning in its findings, the report concluded by stressing that new technology could help to make the issues a thing of the past.

“Although smartphones and mobile applications are readily available and popular in the region, UAE physicians and healthcare centres have been slow to incorporate electronic services into patient care, and have instead relied primarily on face to face communication”, it said.

“The introduction of these technologies into cancer care in the UAE can offer low-cost, confidential, and patient-centred options to improve patients’ access to information and support, enhancing physical and psychological wellbeing and better meeting their needs.”

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