Republish this article
7th April 2015

4-time cancer survivor dedicates life to educating women

As a survivor of thyroid, cervical and breast cancer, Yuthar Al Rawahy has devoted her life to raising awareness and educating women in Oman about the importance of early detection.

Yuthar was 48 years old, a healthy mother of five children and worked in the College of Medicine at Sultan Qaboos University when she was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, in 1998, there was no oncology department in Oman and Yuthar was sent abroad for treatment. Recognising the lack of information and support for cancer sufferers in her country, she decided that more needed to be done.

Image credit: Y-Oman

Yuthar made a promise that if she were to survive her 3rd cancer she would dedicate her life to lowering cancer mortality rates through improving prevention and raising awareness of the disease in all its forms in Oman. And indeed, upon her return in 2002, Yuthar began her journey, establishing the Oman Cancer Association (OCA) in April 2004.

With passion and determination, Yuthar has fought to make the necessary resources available. In 2009, a mobile mammography unit was set up to provide free screening to all women in Oman. It has been equipped with the latest facilities and help women in the early detection of breast cancer. Since then, over 14,000 women have been screened, and 55 have been diagnosed with cancer, highlighting the importance of cancer screening. In a country like Oman that lacks significant support and treatment facilities for its patients, the mobile unit demonstrates that regular mammogram examinations really can lead to a better chance of survival, and although the OCA currently has only one unit, it has covered almost all of Oman so far.

“Yuthar has encouraged women to talk about cancer and be more proactive with their health.”

Yuthar has shared with others the emotional highs and lows of cancer, stressing that the support she received from others always gave her the strength and courage to carry on. Her experience means she continues her personal fight to raise awareness about cancer in Oman and to educate communities about the importance of early diagnosis. In 2014, the OCA launched their new ultrasound machine, which will be used to help women who need further examination after receiving their mammograms or visiting their clinical breast examination clinics.

Yuthar’s inspiring work has helped spread a vital message. Through both her strength in battling the disease and the help she has offered others, Yuthar has encouraged women to talk about cancer and be more proactive with their health, shedding light on the importance of early detection, and demonstrating the positive impact of innovative technologies.