DUBAI: Zulekha Hospital says its ongoing breast cancer awareness drive is having a growing impact after a record number of female patients registered for X-Ray mammograms and specialist check-ups.
A total of 2,902 women have attended medical appointments at Zulekha Hospitals in Sharjah and Dubai since the launch of the “Pink It Now” initiative in Oct.2016. This represents a 58 per cent increase in consultations from its 2015 campaign.
Launched by Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Founding Board Member of Friends for Cancer Patients (FoCP), “Pink It Now” was the latest part of Zulekha Hospitals’ string of CSR initiatives aimed at raising health awareness in the UAE.
According to a WHO World Cancer Report, breast cancer has a substantially higher incidence than any other type of carcinoma. In 2012 alone the UAE registered 568 incidences of the disease, a rate five times higher than those of cervical or colorectal cancer and currently the disease amounts to 30 per cent of all cancer cases across the MENA region.
“The numbers clearly show that our messages about the importance of the disease detection and treatment options prompt women into action,” said Dr Pamela Munster, renowned cancer expert from the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), United States, and the campaign’s long-standing ambassador.
“We want women to acknowledge that while some of them are in the higher breast cancer risk group due to their age, race or family history, anyone can develop this disease.”
The initiative comes in line with the UAE government’s health goal of decreasing cancer fatalities within 2021, and is being undertaken in collaboration with The Pink Caravan, an FoCP initiative that has been functioning in the UAE since 2011 to raise awareness about breast cancer; highlighting the importance of early detection, regular check-ups, and dispelling the innumerable myths that surround the disease.
Dr Munster added: “Our aim is to educate women regardless of their age or background about the prevention, screening, and treatment procedures because timely management of the disease can reduce fatalities up to 98 per cent and we want to equip all females across the UAE with this knowledge.”
Zanubia Shams, Zulekha Hospital Co-chairperson and the campaign’s creator, said: “We are overwhelmed by the response to “Pink It Now” as the number of women registering for appointments grew by 58 per cent since last year while the number of positive cases detected remained at 13.
“We believe that by empowering women with extensive knowledge about breast cancer and stressing the importance of regular screenings as well as providing information about relevant treatment options, we help them make informed decisions about their health now and in the future.”