As the UAE eagerly awaits another edition of the Pink Caravan Ride to be flagged off in Sharjah on Saturday, 23rd February, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients, FOCP, has highlighted that civil society holds an important role in signalling and vocalising collective public concerns, especially a rampant health problem such as breast cancer.
Sheikha Jawaher has said that led by the key efforts of the Pink Caravan Ride, it is time for every family and every individual in the UAE to transform their "curative" approach to breast cancer to one that is marked by dialogue and heightened awareness about prevention and early detection.
"Health is a pillar of the community, along with knowledge and citizenship. 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," Sheikha Jawaher said.
The FOCP Founder and Royal Patron, has called on social, medical and academic institutions to unify their efforts and activate a national health strategy, which increasingly addresses cancer control from a horizontal and cross-cutting approach instead of the more traditional disease-specific approach.
Sheikha Jawaher said, "The Pink Caravan is mobilising all of society for effective breast cancer control. Their goal is not only to offer free screenings and treatment but to build a conscious community whose members understand their responsibility towards their health and are educated about the risks they face."
She called on both, men and women, to visit PCR’s medical clinics and get screened, since breast cancer can affect men too, contrary to misconceptions.
Sheikha Jawaher has warned against the consequences of inaction and failure to perform a medical examination due to fear, shame or the excuse of a busy life. "The Pink Caravan Ride is a community-to-community initiative that involves highly qualified medical teams and offers medical centres across the seven emirates, in addition to follow-up mechanisms to help breast cancer patients and provide them with psychological and moral support," she added.
She commended the support offered by the UAE’s national leadership, local and expatriate communities including breast cancer survivors and their families, sports figures and celebrities public and private organisations, academia and media outlets, saying their collective efforts are a source of pride to everyone.
The ninth edition of the annual pan-UAE breast cancer awareness campaign will be held from 23rd February to 1st March, 2019, and for the first time in its history, will be offering genetic testing to offer more effective treatment to cases, which are diagnosed positive.