February 4, 2022

Over the course of the last decade there have been huge strides in cancer care, with improvements in early detection and diagnosis, treatment, and recovery rate.

Despite these improvements and all the progress globally , underserved communities especially those in zones prone to conflict such as Syria struggle to see the benefits and effects of all the progress made in oncology over the last decade, and this is due primarily to lack of access to the tools, facilities and care. This World Cancer Day we want to shine a spotlight on our efforts to fill in this gap in the communities we serve, and emphasize that this is an ongoing effort, and that there’s still a long way to go to create a world where cancer care is available to everyone who needs it.

Over the course of 2021 our oncology center in Idlib and cancer care services across Syria, Lebanon and Jordan were able to provide its services to approximately 10,000 beneficiaries. Those services ranged from consultations, testing for cancer, and providing treatment such as chemotherapy, and surgeries to assist cancer patients in the communities we work in. One example of the key gaps we’ve been working to fill is improving access to cancer care for women, SAMS has worked make mammogram screenings available allowing more women to get diagnosed early and give them the opportunity to pursue and get the treatment they need.

One of our beneficiaries

These services were able to save the life of Inas, a 35 year old mother of 3 who came to one of our centers, suffering from leukemia, unable to access the treatment she needed, negatively affecting her life and the lives of her 3 children. Staff members like Dr. Bassel Hammed thankfully stepped in and through working with the rest of the SAMS team we were able to get her the care she needed, and likely would have had a challenge accessing otherwise.

Access to something as simple as adequate blood sample DNA analysis changed a patient’s life  from stage 3 cancer to full remission and recovery.”

Dr. Bassel Hammed

A few years ago, 14-year-old Mustafa was severely injured in an airstrike on his hometown of Ariha. As a result, he underwent surgery to remove his spleen.

After he recovered from the surgery, he noticed swollen lymph nodes in his neck and chest, so he visited the SAMS Oncology Center in Idlib, where he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Thankfully, the center was able to treat Mustafa, helping him undergo chemotherapy and receive all the medications he needed, free of charge.

There are countless patients who share Mustafa and Inas’s story and despite all the advances and efforts we’ve made there is still work to be done to help ensure that access to quality and affordable cancer care is a reality for everyone in Syria and beyond.