Saudi doctor beats cancer, advocates women’s health
A Saudi obstetrician and gynaecologist who survived breast cancer twice, gave up her career to dedicate herself entirely to the fight against the disease
A Saudi obstetrician and gynaecologist who survived breast cancer twice, gave up her career to dedicate herself entirely to the fight against the disease.
She has become an advocate for women’s health issues, arguing for the empowerment of women to access their right to health and health care. She has also challenged taboos in conservative societies, of which are still against change.
Dr Samiya bint Mohammed al-Amoudi, who is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, a professor at the Medical School of King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Jeddah, and chief executive officer of sheikh Mohamed Hassan al-Amoudi centre of excellence in breast cancer, has written several books, including ‘Memoirs of a Saudi Woman’ published in 2015 and ‘Empowering Girls’ published this 2016.
‘My mission is to fight cancer’
In an interview with Al Arabiya.net, Amoudi spoke of the major challenges and difficulties she had encountered during her life - from the loss of her father as a child, getting married and r difficulties in conceiving, to her diagnosis with breast cancer in 2006 and its recurrence in 2015 – which marked a turning point in her life.
She decided to share her story by penning her autobiography, ‘Memoirs of a Saudi Woman’, an inspiring story in which she encourages people to defy crises. The book, she says, is in the list of bestselling books in Saudi Arabia.
When asked about the reasons behind publishing the story of her illness in her column for al-Madina newspaper, she explained: “I am passionate about writing and the media, so I was already writing a weekly column at that time. I wanted to to publicize my story, because of my conviction in the power of the media to raise awareness in any society. I hope to be a role model. I was the first Arab woman to choose to break the long held silence and speak openly about my breast cancer.’
International Women of Courage Award
Amoudi is the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors. In 2007, the then US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, presented her with the International Women of Courage Award, the first Arab woman to receive this honor.
When asked what all these rewards mean to her, she replied saying: “Of course, I was honored by the award and the recognition. They are like a bell that draws attention to the issues. I could not imagine that one day my voice and my suffering will reach such a worldwide audience.”
This article is available in Arabic at AlArabiya.Net.