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Mafraq Hospital – Beating Breast Cancer

Dr. Rola Shaheen explains breast health and screening procedures to a patient at Mafraq Hospital.

Results of an internal audit show promise for a new breast cancer screening programme at Mafraq Hospital

July 11, 2013 11:15 by

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11th July 2013 – Mafraq Hospital, owned and operated by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA), recently performed an internal audit of their breast cancer screening programme. Despite breast cancer being the most common cancer in women in the UAE, there are few dedicated screening and diagnostic programmes here. Therefore Mafraq Hospital created a multi-faceted quality improvement programme for both the community and healthcare providers to promote screening awareness and provide high-quality sub specialised breast imaging care.

The programme was headed by Dr. Rola Shaheen, Acting Chair of Radiology and Chief of Women’s Imaging, Department of Radiology. The retrospective review was undertaken to gauge the effectiveness of the programme since its implementation. Data collected during the period between March of 2012 and February of 2013 were compared to a control period, before the programme was implemented, between March of 2011 and February of 2012.

Results of the audit indicated very promising success. According to Dr. Rola Shaheen, “34 cancers were diagnosed among 182 tissue samples, yielding a positive tissue sample rate of 19%. Of these 34 cancers, two were detected by screening.” Compared to the period before the programme was initiated, more ultrasound-guided tissue collections were performed to screen for cancer, a technique better tolerated than others, which led to an increase from 9% to 19% in the number of cancer-positive tissue samples. Moreover, the rate of utilisation of breast imaging resources increased by 256% and there was a 343% increase in the number of image-guided tissue collections.

Mafraq Hospital implemented breast imaging under the guidance of standards published by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD). The launch of the imaging centre was accompanied by educational programmes, collaborative breast cancer initiatives, workshops, an international breast health lecture series, radiology-pathology correlation meetings, multidisciplinary tumour board conferences and community campaigns with mobile screening offerings from a van.

Implementation of a quality improvement breast health programme resulted in significantly increased utilisation of diagnostic breast imaging services by patients with breast symptoms, as well as improved breast cancer detection and diagnosis. Better screening methods have led to improved selection of patients for tissue sample collection and subsequent treatment. However, despite these successes, results of the audit indicated that there was no significant increase in the number of patients who sought breast cancer screening. Dr. Rola Shaheen explains, “This suggests that women in this region remain relatively unaware of the benefits of screening. Future efforts need to be devoted to identify and address these barriers to early detection of breast cancer in our community.”


About Mafraq Hospital

Mafraq Hospital was established in 1983 and is one of the largest tertiary referral treatment hospitals in the United Arab Emirates, with 451 licensed beds. Its specialist services include medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics, as well as surgical and critical care services.  In addition, Mafraq Hospital operates the largest burn unit in the country. Mafraq Hospital is part of the SEHA HealthSystem and is owned and operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA) which is responsible for the curative activities of the public hospitals and clinics of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Mafraq Hospital physicians are amongst the best in their specialist fields with international qualifications and world class expertise. The medical staff is supported by a capable and professional nursing and paramedical staff who are well trained and motivated to provide quality healthcare services. Emiratization is extremely important to Mafraq Hospital and many of the hospital’s highly skilled employees are UAE Nationals. The hospital believes strongly in customer service excellence and trains all its employees to be Mafraq Ambassadors so the hospital can provide quality healthcare with integrity and service excellence in a caring environment. For more information, please visit


About the SEHA Health System and the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA)

SEHA is health in Arabic.  The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC– whose marketing identity is SEHA – is an independent, public joint stock company created to develop the curative activities of the public healthcare system in Abu Dhabi. The company owns and operates all the public hospitals and clinics of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi which together make up the SEHA HealthSystem.  SEHA is committed to continuous improvement of customer care to recognized international standards and providing our customers and communities served world-class healthcare.  SEHA has partnered with internationally recognized hospital managers to achieve these goals.  These include Johns Hopkins Medicine International, Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Fresenius Medical Care.  SEHA owns and operates 12 hospitals with 2,644 beds, more than 60 ambulatory care, family care and urgent care centers and 2 blood banks.  SEHA is one of the largest integrated healthcare providers in the Middle East with more than 17,000 doctors, nurses, ancillary care and administrative personnel in its employ.  Visit our website at


For media information contact:

Fadya Al Kathairi

Marketing & Communications Officer

Mafraq Hospital

T: +971 2 5012068

E: [email protected]


Amanda Banham

Director of Marketing & Communications

Mafraq Hospital

T: +971 2 5012443

E: [email protected]

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