Pink Caravan: Marching with a noble mission - GulfToday

Pink Caravan: Marching with a noble mission

Pink Caravan

The annual Pink Caravan Ride would gallop once again across the UAE from Feb.26.

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) earnest efforts.

Health is a pillar of the community. 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.

The annual Pink Caravan Ride would gallop once again across the UAE from Feb.26 — in keeping with one of the goals of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP)—breast cancer awareness leading to more people becoming more pro-active on acting against it.

The 2020 theme is “#Plenty Is Not Enough” is apt because, as PCR-Higher Steering Committee chairperson Reem BinKaram points out, it is based on the spirit of volunteerism which has grown among both public and private individuals since Feb. 2011 when the project-turned-initiative-turned humanitarian campaign was announced by Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Royal Patron of Friends of Cancer Patients and International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control.

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.

The Friends of Cancer Patients, FOCP, has made tremendous efforts to reduce breast cancer fatalities in the UAE for almost a decade, with the PCR awareness campaign having mapped the UAE entirely, offering 64,000 free medical tests and screenings worth more than Dhs37 million since its launch in 2011.

The 2019 edition of the ride ended with 7,200 successful free medical examinations, including breast screenings, bringing the total number to 64,012, with a total cost of more than Dhs16 million since 2011. Each exam cost Dhs250, while the ultrasound cost Dhs1,000.  The PCR carried out 2,945 ultrasounds.

Since the first edition, more than 18,630 suspected cases were referred to hospitals for mammogram tests.

The effect of the campaign could be gauged by the fact that in 2019, the PCR unearthed 11 positive cases, with all of the patients receiving free treatment in leading cancer facilities in the UAE.

The ninth edition of the awareness campaign, held from Feb.23 to March 1, 2019, had for the first time in its history offered genetic testing to provide more effective treatment to cases that are diagnosed positive.

The PCR deserves praise for motivating individuals and institutions to serve the community, and instill principles of solidarity and compassion in the society.

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.