Breast cancer incidence and mortality rates are increasing in the Arab world and the involved women are often diagnosed at advanced stages of breast cancer.1 In the Middle East the incidence of breast cancer has substantially increased and medical researchers now expect it to double by 2030.2 Early detection is essential in reducing the need for radical mastectomy, reducing the risk of mortality and in enabling the most effective treatments to be used.

"There are many people, Middle Eastern governments to NGOs and patient advocates, campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of regular breast screening," said TheSocialMedwork Patient Support Manager and qualified medical doctor Ayşen Şimşek, "however, we want to echo the advice of medical experts like Mayo Clinic3 who recommend that every invasive breast cancer be tested for the presence of HER2 because the results significantly impact treatment decisions and the use of the most effective medicine."

HER2-positive breast cancer is one that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which accelerates the growth of cancer cells. In approximately 1 of every 5 breast cancers, the cancer cells have a gene mutation that makes an excess of the HER2 protein. HER2-positive breast cancers are more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. They are less likely to be sensitive to hormone therapy, though many people with HER2-positive breast cancer can still benefit from hormone therapy. Treatments that specifically target HER2 are the most effective.

"With early detection there is a stronger likelihood that the patient will receive the most suitable medicine and treatment regime. There are medicines available that target HER2-positive breast cancer and these have shown to be quite effective in clinical trials," stated the Turkish-born Dr Şimşek.

Many people across the world don't have access to the latest cancer medicines, nor specialised ones like HER2 cancer treatments. Just developed medicines have a market delay of 3 - 5 years, which is the period from the date of their first market approval (usually by the U.S. FDA) to global availability. TheSocialMedwork was founded to bridge this unacceptable delay and also to help the many countries that never gain access to new medicines.

Karin Schepp, co-founder of TheSocialMedwork and the Chief Operating Officer outlined how the social enterprise works, "Once breast cancer  - or any cancer - is detected, we help patients and physicians access the best newly-developed medicines from anywhere in the world." Ms. Schepp, who lost her father to cancer, continued "Our unique service helps people get hold of medicines as soon as they are approved for use by a reputable medical authority. Patients no longer have to travel to find the newest cancer medicines, we help patients safely and quickly self-import them for their own use."

TheSocialMedwork is a registered medicines intermediary with the Ministry of Health in The Netherlands and uses existing regulations for ''named patient'' importation to help patients with serious and life-debilitating conditions easily get the advanced treatments they need.

"We are proud to have already helped tens of patients in Gulf and Middle East countries and now with Breast Cancer Awareness month we want to assure women and their families that we are here to help them access any medicine they need." Said Ms. Schepp.


Source: POP Communications