Pink Caravan: Riding with a noble mission - GulfToday

Pink Caravan: Riding with a noble mission

Pink Caravan

UAE community’s awareness and eagerness to seek counsel and medical support is now much higher than it used to be.

Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million women each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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.

In order to improve breast cancer outcomes and survival, early detection is critical.

The global battle against breast cancer is far from over, but 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 diligent and persistent efforts.

The Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) breast cancer awareness campaign by UAE-based Friends of Cancer Patients, FoCP, which took off on Wednesday on its 10th annual ride, is a valuable drive that helps save several precious lives.

A group of 350 doctors and medical professionals, 150 riders and over 100 volunteers are travelling 150-plus km across the seven emirates, advocating the importance of regular screenings and early detection of breast cancer in successfully tackling the disease.

The ride, which has adopted the slogan “Plenty is not enough” for this edition, aims to deliver as many as 10,000-plus free screenings across seven fixed clinics to citizens and residents of the UAE this year.

As His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, pointed out, “Society doesn’t develop and grow without combined efforts. We want to pass on to our children the values of volunteerism and community service.”

On behalf of Sharjah, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients, FoCP, has led tremendous efforts to establish several centres dedicated to cancer awareness, treatment and research around the world.

In what should be seen as a major initiative, the UAE will witness the launch of the Sharjah Cancer Research Centre for Cancer in mid-March. Also, a new building for the National Cancer Institute at Cairo University will be inaugurated.

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.

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

Eleven positive cases of breast cancer were diagnosed by the ninth annual PCR last year. The campaign offered free screenings and clinical examinations to 7,200 citizens and residents last year.

Through the years, the Pink Caravan Ride has undoubtedly become a unique national model of community engagement, health and social dialogue for the upliftment of society.

Sheikha Jawaher’s words perfectly reflect the reality on the ground: “As the PCR enters its 10th year, your ambitions have not weakened. You have instilled awareness that was not there 10 years ago, attracted more partners and supporters, given the same people the courage to take control of their wellbeing who would not touch a taboo topic or did not know that breast cancer affects both women and men.”

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