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Pink Caravan: Marching ahead for a noble cause
This Saturday will witness the beginning of a valuable campaign that helps save several precious lives. While the global battle against breast cancer is far from over, the UAE community’s awareness and eagerness to seek counsel and medical support is now much higher than it used to be, thanks largely to Pink Caravan Ride’s (PCR) sincere efforts.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), has rightly highlighted that civil society holds an important role in signalling and vocalising collective public concerns, especially a rampant health problem such as breast cancer.

Health is a pillar of the community, along with knowledge and citizenship. While good health and wellbeing is a fundamental human right, the act of preserving it is also a fundamental duty — a shared responsibility of the individual, civil society and the government.

It’s good to note that the ninth edition of the pan-UAE breast cancer awareness campaign, that will be held from Feb.23 to March 1, 2019, will for the first time in its history offer genetic testing to provide more effective treatment to cases that are diagnosed positive.

Pink Caravan-Higher Steering Committee Organising head Reem Bin Karam had recently mentioned that a “mini mobile clinic” would also be an add-on to the 2019 edition.

As per World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women.

In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women died from breast cancer – that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women. While breast cancer rates are higher among women in more developed regions, rates are increasing in nearly every region globally.

The PCR has become the most important breast cancer initiative in the nation. Right since its inception, the campaign has made a significant difference in people’s attitude towards breast cancer and made crucial information accessible to more people.

Early detection is critical. Both, men and women should visit PCR’s medical clinics and get screened, since breast cancer can affect men too, contrary to misconceptions.

As suggested by Sheikha Jawaher, social, medical and academic institutions need to unify their efforts and activate a national health strategy, which increasingly addresses cancer control from a horizontal and cross-cutting approach instead of the more traditional disease-specific approach.

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