Dr Houriya Kazim, the UAE’s first female surgeon, has spent more than 20 years campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of early detection in saving lives.
Dr Houriya was inspired to become a breast surgeon as a young doctor in her hometown of Dubai after seeing many patients with advanced stages of breast cancer due to lack of awareness of the disease and cultural barriers that prevented them from seeking life-saving medical attention.
After obtaining her fellowship in general surgery and specialising in breast surgical oncology from the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK, Dr Houriya returned home inspired to help her community and established the Well Woman Clinic.
In 2005 Dr Houriya launched Dubai’s first breast cancer support group, Brest Friends, to support women through their journey. Brest Friends provides a safe space for patients and survivors to learn, share experiences and offer emotional support to each other which has proven to be instrumental in a woman’s healing process.
In 2015 Al Jalila Foundation partnered with Brest Friends with a joint mission to encourage early detection of breast cancer, facilitate medical treatment and fund locally-based research. The partnership lead to the annual #PINKtober campaign which rallies the community together to fight breast cancer, honour survivors and bring hope to patients.
Dr Houriya underlines “I cannot emphasise enough the importance of early detection is in the treatment of the disease – it saves lives.”