The significant reduction in the number of positive cases this year shows the efficiency of the Pink Caravan Ride's year-round awareness drives.
With only six testing positive among a total of 11,007 men and women screened for breast cancer in the UAE this year, a relentless 10-year campaign by Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) – an initiative of the Sharjah-based non-profit Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP) – is showing strong evidence of encouraging health behaviour change amongst residents of the UAE.
In its 10th edition that concluded in March this year, the strategically focused campaign aimed at improving public awareness of early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, its prevention and risk factors, has led to a significant dip in the number of those tested positive as compared to the previous editions. In 2019, for instance, 11 women in the 32-52 years age group tested positive out of a total of 7, 200 people who underwent screening.
The carefully targeted PCR campaign emphasising early detection of breast cancer through integrated awareness education and screening interventions has shown encouraging results as four of the six women of diverse nationalities who tested positive this year were in the early stages of cancer — one woman in Stage 1 and three in Stage 2. Only two women were in Stage 3, an advanced stage of the disease.
The diagnosed women are between the ages of 34 and 60 which further underscores the importance of regular check-ups and increased awareness.
Commenting on the results, Reem BinKaram, Chairperson of PCR Higher Steering Committee, said: “At PCR, we believe that early detection and improving risk factor awareness are the cornerstones of saving lives. The significant reduction in the number of positive cases this year, despite having recorded the highest number of screenings in PCR’s 10-year history, points to the efficiency of the campaign’s year-round awareness drives.
In Sharjah alone, we tested 4,296 citizens and residents, including 3,448 women and 846 men, making it the highest number of tests we performed in a single emirate this year. In the other six emirates too, this edition of PCR received a stronger public response than ever before, which gives us an enormous sense of satisfaction. As more people continue to avail of our free screening services, early detection of cases is significantly improving survival rates.”
She continued: “Our experience at PCR has shown us that the single greatest factor for survival of women at a moderate or high risk of developing breast cancer is the detection of tumours at an early stage as these are usually smaller in size and less likely to have spread to lymph nodes. PCR’s educational programmes therefore strongly advocate the need for regular self-examination and clinical screening as these are integral to catching and treating the disease early, thereby giving women the best possible chance of survival.
Amongst the six cases detected at the 10th edition of the Pink Caravan Ride, two women were from Egypt and one each hailed from Morocco, Iran, Jordan, and Bangladesh. Four are residents of Sharjah while two are from Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. Only one patient has chosen to go back to her home country for treatment. Four women are being treated at the best medical facilities in the UAE while the sixth patient’s treatment is covered by her medical insurance.
It was on Feb.26 that PCR flagged off its 10th edition in Sharjah under the slogan ‘Plenty is not enough’. Over a 10-day period, it mapped more than 150km in the seven emirates accompanied by 150 equestrians, 350 doctors and medical professionals, and over 100 volunteers, delivering free screenings to citizens and residents of the UAE through more than 190 fixed, daily and mobile clinics.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Founder/Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), led the flagoff of the 10th “Pink Caravan Ride” (PCR) from the grounds of the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club on windy Wednesday morning.
There are many myths regarding the disease that has led to delays in detection and treatment that could have possibly saved lives.
This year, 11 women in the age group of 32 to 52 tested positive for breast cancer during the ninth annual Pink Caravan Ride, PCR, and have been sent for further examination.
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