Pink Caravan Ride changes perception on breast cancer - GulfToday

Pink Caravan Ride changes perception on breast cancer


The Friends of Cancer Patients initiative has become the face of the breast cancer awareness campaign in the UAE.

The 10th edition of annual 10-day Pink Caravan Ride to raise breast cancer awareness, which will start from Sharjah on Feb.26 and run till Mar.6, has evolved into a tradition over the past decade. By offering early detection screening tests for breast cancer and spreading awareness about the importance of self-examination amongst the UAE community, it has wrought many positive changes in the way cancer is perceived and treated.

Breast cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in women, has always been considered a taboo. People refused to acknowledge it or discuss it. This, however, is not the case today in the UAE. Over the past 10 years, the Pink Caravan Ride has managed to change the community’s perception — especially women — on breast cancer. It has become normal to talk about it, which is a very important part of encouraging people to get screened and tested.

It’s a myth that only women are susceptible to breast cancer and that men are immune to it. Thanks to awareness raised by Pink Caravan, many men have started approaching the convoy as it travels across the emirates to get themselves screened.

So far, 10,000 men have been screened, which can be critical and lifesaving in many cases as there is a 98 per cent cure rate of Stage-1 breast cancer.

Thanks to the Pink Caravan Ride’s campaigns, it has begun to attract more and more men who not only come for screening but also learn about self-examination.

Traditionally, breast cancer and its occurrence has been shrouded in myths that have misled people leading to tragic results. The Pink Caravan Ride’s awareness campaigns have contributed vastly to dispelling myths and false rumours about what causes breast cancer, how the disease develops, about breast cancer screening and detection, and how different treatment options affect patients and aftercare.

The campaigns have not only changed people’s perceptions about breast cancer, it has also managed to create a mindset where people have realised the importance of getting themselves examined every year. PC holds numerous breast cancer awareness campaigns held throughout the year especially in October.

The Pink Caravan Ride took three years to build the mobile screening unit at a cost of Dhs15 million. Its mobile mammography unit is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment and latest technologies to offer breast and cervical cancer tests. The world-class screening equipment and latest technologies in the clinic allows one person to be examined within 15-20 minutes. The unit’s services include PAP Smear testing owing to the fact that cervical cancer is the second leading form of cancer in women in UAE.

Moreover, the equipment is constantly updated to include the latest devices and methods. It introduced genetic testing in 2019 to make breast cancer treatment more effective.

The services of the Pink Caravan initiative’s permanent mobile medical clinic can be availed by organisations throughout the year by signing up to the Pink Caravan Corporate Wellness Day, which offers the following booking options: awareness lectures, minivan presence, and finally a combination of mobile unit plus an awareness lecture.

In order to enable communities across the country to have access to testing facilities for regular check-ups and timely diagnosis, the Pink Caravan initiative has collaborated with and helped local authorities to spread breast cancer awareness and offer early detection services to people across UAE communities.

The initiative’s responsibility does not stop with helping diagnose cases of cancer. Whenever a person is detected with breast cancer, the initiative ensures that the patient is supported through counselling sessions and free treatment in cases of financial difficulty.

For the person diagnosed with cancer, friends and family members provide a comforting presence and practical support to deal with the feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, and helplessness that come with it. For people without anybody to fall back on, life can seem very bleak. It is very important to have moral and physical support.

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