To mark the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign held a breakfast where regional media got to hear from Dr Houriya Kazim.
She has spent the past 17 years campaigning to eradicate breast cancer in the United Arab Emirates and become the first female surgeon in the country. She now works as a medical director and founder of the Well Woman Clinic, which was set up in 2006. In addition to the clinical work, she founded and runs the only breast cancer support group in the city called Brest Friends as well as a breast cancer charity The Breast Cancer Foundation of the Emirates.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Pray. The second thing I do is have a cup of chai karak. With both of these, I can face anything!
Three items you can’t live without?
Notebook and pen (I’m a big list-maker) and a good book to read.
Complete the sentence: I’m happy when…
My patients do well.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love that I work with women – women who deal with their potentially life-threatening disease with so much strength and dignity – they literally take my breath away.
Where do you love to hang out in Dubai?
The beach in Umm Suqquim.
What do you do to relax and unwind?
I take long walks on the beach ending with a cup of chai karak watching the sun go down over the gulf.
What really annoys you?
The driving in Dubai.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
To slow down and not worry so much.
Did you have a plan B career path?
Not for anything other than wanting to be a doctor. However within the field of Medicine, I initially wanted to study Infectious Disease as I loved looking at all those bugs under the microscope.
Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?
My husband. He can talk about any and every subject under the sun, he likes the beach and he doesn’t make fun of my rudimentary cooking skills.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’ve got three on the go – all non-fiction: “Letters to a Young Muslim” by Omar Saif Ghobash; “Prairie Fires” by Caroline Fraser; “Identically Different: Why We Can Change Our Genes” by Tim Spector.
What is your happy place?
What’s your personal motto?
Always better to be kind than to be right.
How do you want the world to remember you?
As someone who was blessed to have found a need and made it her work and passion.