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MENAFN Press - 18/02/2014

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(MENAFN Press) The Pink Caravan breast cancer awareness campaign, a Friends of Cancer Patients society (FoCP) initiative, collaborated with University Hospital Sharjah, to provide accredited training for breast cancer medical screenings and examinations, and effective awareness communications, to 25 medical professionals, which included doctors as well as paramedical staff

The training was organised as an important factor to prepare medical professionals for the medical screenings programme, which started on 15th February.

Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, Secretary General for Friends of Cancer Patients society (FoCP) and Head of Pink Caravan's Medical and Awareness committee, said, "Every year, Pink Caravan's medical staff, which includes doctors and paramedical staff, is carefully chosen from a selection of exceptionally talented medical practitioners and are provided high quality and accredited training.

"This equips them to communicate more effectively and thoroughly with both women and men who come for checkups. During the first 11 days of the screenings and awareness campaign, we are aiming for over 5,000 screenings, besides building awareness on the various myths surrounding breast cancer."

During the campaign, the medical team will pan out in different hospitals and primary health centres, where they will examine people, conduct screenings and, if need be, refer cases that necessitate further action for further mammogram tests.

Dr Lougion Metab, who has clocked seven years at the Primary Health Care Ajman and has a total of 25 years of experience in the profession, has been part of all the previous Pink Caravan screenings and awareness campaigns. "My speciality is family medicine and I know what harm cancer can wreak on a patient's life including the impact on other family members. However, 95 per cent of all breast cancer cases, if detected early, can be cured. My message is, therefore, timely detection will save you and your family. Women should undergo periodic mammogram tests every two years after attaining the age of 40 and once every year after 50."

Mona Salem Ahmed Saeed Al-Yasmeen Yammahi, who has been practising family medicine for seven years in Al Ain and is Director of Qurrayah Primary Health Centre, was part of last year's Pink Caravan, "Containing the bane of breast cancer is a noble task and I'm happy that the services are made available for one and all free of cost. It also pleases me that more Emirati doctors like me are enlisting for the Pink Caravan's awareness and screenings programme this year, because it makes the task of connecting with locals, especially in remote areas of the Emirates much easier."

This view was shared by another Emirati doctor on the team, Dr Shaikha Mohammed Alhayayi, who has been working at the Al Fujairah Health Centre for the last six years.

Dr Samer Mohiedeen from the Primary Health Care & School Health Centre at Ajman, is one of the doctors who are also part of this year's medical convoy. "It is my second year with Pink Caravan. It's very important that the message of early detection gets across to as many people as possible, and I want to do my part by helping this campaign achieve their goal. One of the myths surrounding breast cancer is that men are not affected by it, which is not true. Breast cancer can also affect men, although the ratio compared to women is 1:100. Therefore, my advice to men, particularly those with testicular or liver problems, or with a family history of breast cancer is to undergo checkups. This is more significant if the person in question has crossed the age of 40. In this case, a mammogram test once every three years is a must."



About Pink Caravan
The Pink Caravan is a Pan UAE breast cancer awareness initiative launched in 2011 by Friends of Cancer Patients, a UAE organisation, to commemorate the occasion of their 10th anniversary celebrations. The Pink Caravan functions under the umbrella of the "KASHF" program, which is an initiative to promote awareness of the importance of the early detection of cancer. KASHF also works towards providing information and guidance to facilitate the early detection of many types of cancer, i.e. breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate, melanoma, and colon cancer. KASHF's first project is flagged through the Pink Caravan initiative which was especially designed to raise awareness around breast cancer and to encourage both women and men, residing within the United Arab Emirates, to perform self-examinations and go for regular medical check-ups.The initiative was launched under the patronage of HRH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients Society (FoCP), International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC. The Pink Caravan aims to raise awareness around breast cancer early detection and screening methods, lobby for the creation of the first UAE National Cancer Registry, and raise sufficient funds to purchase and operate a state of the art mobile mammography unit. The Pink Caravan ride takes place annually, focusing across all seven emirates of the UAE, including remote and outlying areas. Over 150 experienced equine riders join forces each year, garnering support across different sectors, bringing together schools, universities, corporations, Pink Caravan ambassadors and royalty. The funds raised during this awareness campaign will ensure the availability of the latest technology and highest quality in the early screening and detection of breast cancer, making services accessible to every woman and man in the UAE.A novel and unique initiative, the Pink Caravan has garnered widespread recognition locally, regionally, and internationally. To date the Pink Caravan Ride has travelled over 900 km across the seven emirates, with over 250 riders and 200 volunteers helping to ensure its success. Lectures and presentations were delivered at more than 100 schools and more than 250 mobile medical clinics offering early breast cancer detection examinations have been set up with more than 22,877 people, including over 5,450 men, being screened. Pink caravan had recruited ambassadors from different walks of life to lobby and advocate for its mission and primarily help raise the 15 million dirhams fund.In June 2012 Pink Caravan and University Hospital Sharjah signed an MOU marking the beginning of the 'Cancer Centre of Excellence' operated early 2013 in collaboration with the Institute Gustave-Roussy (IGR), the leading European oncology centre, which will be known throughout the Gulf as the flagship referral and treatment centre of all cancers with its first phase focused on breast cancer, which is considered a major milestone for The Pink Caravan.

 






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