Pink ties that bind cancer survivors
Shaikha Lubna with Dr Zulekha Daud and Dr Pamela Munster as they inaugurate Zulekha Hospital's 5th year of Breast Cancer AwarenessCampaign, Pink it Now, at Conrad Hotel, Dubai, on Monday. -Photos by Leslie Pableo
Dubai - At the launch of the fifth edition of the 'Pink It Now' campaign organised by Zulekha Hospital on Monday to mark the International Breast Cancer Awareness month, three women spoke about their experiences beating the dreaded affliction.
The thread of strength and resilience binds breast cancer survivors together in the narrative of their journey from diagnosis to complete recovery.
At the launch of the fifth edition of the 'Pink It Now' campaign organised by Zulekha Hospital on Monday to mark the International Breast Cancer Awareness month, three women spoke about their experiences beating the dreaded affliction.
Shaikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Founding Board Member of Friends for Cancer Patients (FoCP), who has been at the forefront in promoting breast cancer awareness, launched the campaign that advocates early detection and reducing cancer deaths across the UAE.
Dikrrayat Saleh, a survivor, said her diagnosis had come as a big shock. "I'd assumed I would never get breast cancer since I have always led an active lifestyle and eaten healthy."
She discovered two lumps in her breast and underwent chemotherapy last year. "No one is immune to the disease. listen to your body," she advised.
In collaboration with The Pink Caravan - an FoCP initiative that has been functioning in the UAE since 2011 to raise awareness about breast cancer - the aim is to highlight the importance of early detection, regular check-ups, and dispel innumerable myths thatsurround this disease. "The Pink It Now campaign highlights the need for continued education and access to specialist screening options," said Shaikha Lubna.
Ameera BinKaram, Founding Member and President of the Board of Directors of FoCP and Head of Pink Caravan Ride Higher Steering Committee said: "Many women in the UAE still hesitate to attend get cancer check-ups and make medical appointments only when they are unwell. This puts their health at risk, particularly in view of the fact that breast cancer is the most common form cancer in women worldwide.
"Women in the UAE should undergo regular check-ups, as 98 per cent of breast cancer cases detected during the early stages can be fully cured. They should also perform frequent self-examinations."
Dr Pamela Munster, cancer expert from the University of California in San Francisco, US and the campaign's chief ambassador since its inception, said: "Nearly 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2012 and in the Middle East and North Africa alone, breast cancer amounts to 30 per cent of all cancer cases.
"Last year, we doubled the number of women registering for free screenings over 2014 and we hope to have the same continued success this year," said Zanubia Shams, co-chairperson of Zulekha Hospitals. The 2015 edition of 'Pink It Now' saw 1,826 women taking advantage of free specialist oncologist and gynaecologist consultations.
Seha offers free month-long early breast cancer screening
|Register for free|
According to a WHO World Cancer Report, in 2012 alone, breast cancer made up 25.2 per cent of all the new cancer cases diagnosed in women, with 14.7 per cent being fatal. The UAE registered 568 incidences of the disease, a rate five times higher than cervical or colorectal cancer in the country.
Women can register for free tests at Zulekha Hospitals in Dubai and Sharjah from now until December 31. In addition to free X-Ray mammogram and consultations, the hospital offers a 50 per cent discount on ultrasound tests. To register, call 600524442 or visit pinkitnow.zulekhahospitals.com
An awareness campaign against breast cancer was launched on Monday by the Ambulatory Healthcare Services, part of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).
Early screening for breast cancer will be provided for a period of one month in October, coinciding with World Breast Cancer Awareness month. The campaign targets women aged 40 and above, and includes a clinical examination by the physician plus an X-ray screening.
Dr. Mariam Butti Al Mazrouie, executive director of the Ambulatory Healthcare Services, Seha, said: "The campaign reinforces the values of benevolence that Seha endeavours to apply to people from all walks of life in society." Around 450 women underwent the screening in October last year.
For the free screening, make an appointment at the nearest healthcare centre in Abu Dhabi or Al Ain by calling Seha on 80050.