A princess who cares about cancer control
Princess Dina Mired is as articulate as she is determined; determined to nip cancer in the bud, that is.
The Jordanian princess is president-elect of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and a global advocate for the control of cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCD).
She is also the first UICC president-elect from the Arab world. Her official term begins in October 2018. UICC is the world’s largest international cancer-fighting organization, with over 1,000 member organizations in 164 countries.
Princess Dina was in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month after being invited the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) to create awareness about the upcoming World Cancer Congress 2018, which will be held in the city in October.
In an interview, she shared that cancer was something that she and her family had witnessed first-hand 20 years ago.
In 1997, her second child, Prince Rakan, was diagnosed with leukemia, at the age of two. His treatment, which included a bone marrow transplant, was successful.
The experience completely changed the royal family’s perspective on life.
“I think nobody who goes through such a traumatic journey comes out the same. When you go through something like that, you really understand that the most precious thing in life is health.
“You also put things in perspective and I think, you almost say that it’s a blessing to have had the cancer because you get that wake-up call.”
Princess Dina was also grateful that they were in the position to seek out the best treatments for their son.
“We were so appreciative that we were the lucky few who could afford to go for treatment abroad (in the US and UK). My husband and immediate family were very supportive, and we were financially comfortable so we could be be with all our children abroad during the treatment.
“But even with all of that, it was still very hard for us, so think about people who are poor but have to experience cancer.
“I think people should realize and understand that people who do not have financial and emotional support need a lot more help.”
Fighting to reduce cancer burden globally
Dina Mohammad Khalifeh married Prince Mired Raad in 1992. Together, they have three children – Princess Shirin, 25, Prince Rakan, 23 and Prince Jafar, 16.
Princess Dina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Analysis from Britain’s Warwick University and a Master’s Degree in International Banking and Financial Services from Reading University.
She was the Honorary Chairperson of the Jordan Breast Cancer Program from 2006 to2016, advocating early detection and screening for breast cancer..
The down-to-earth princess also led the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) in Jordan as director-general for 15 years, turning the organization into a global leader for people affected by cancer.
A strong campaigner against smoking, Princess Dina is also Honorary Chair of the Tobacco Free Portfolios steering committee and Honorary President of the Harvard University Global Task Force for Expanded Access to Cancer Control and Care in the Developing World.
“Tobacco companies have huge budgets, and they only have one goal – to get our youths addicted. They even have really well-thought strategies to get youths hooked and they found out that the best age group to target is between age eight and 26.
“But people need to know that CEOs of big tobacco industries themselves don’t smoke, because they know there are thousands of chemicals in it.”
As president of UICC, one of her key roles will be to close the gap between developing and developed countries regarding cancer control.
The organization also works to put pressure on governments to implement the Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020, which aims to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by 25 percent by the year 2025.
Ensuring equitable access to care is also at the top of UICC’s agenda.
“If countries continue at the rate they are at now, we will not be able to reach our goals by 2020.
“And what that means is, we are not saving the lives that we should be saving and people are dying needlessly due to lack of political will and focused policies to fight cancer head-on.”
Needless to say, Princess Dina will hit the ground running when she assumes her position come October.
Author: Elle Wong (act)
Date28.07.2018 | 14:01
Tagscancer, Elle Wong, King Hussein Cancer Foundation, National Cancer Society of Malaysia, NCSM, Princess Dina Mired, Tobacco Free Portfolios, UICC