Breast Cancer Awareness Month is now in full swing, with all manner of fundraising activities and drives taking place across Dubai. From spa treatments to fun runs, we take a look at where you can join in the fight against the disease.
Around the world, October sees cities deck themselves out in pink as part of a global drive to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Dubai is no different. Though there are still no official figures available, it is thought to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UAE, and one of the biggest killers of women in the country. Yet it is also one of the most preventable and curable of diseases if caught at the right time through early detection – awareness is key to saving lives. The good news is that the emirate has gone a little bit awareness-mad this month, with a whole host of unique ways to do your bit for cancer research and support groups, through everything from cupcakes to bungee jumps dedicated to the cause.
Breast cancer and the UAE Though incidence is certainly high, it is not known just how big a problem breast cancer is for the UAE, as there is no centralised data centre gathering statistics. The country has a huge need for a national cancer registry – and this is currently one of the goals of Friends of Cancer Patients. According to Dr Richard Reyes, one of the founders of the Breast Cancer Arabia foundation, the country also lacks the right medical expertise: ‘While the facilities [in Dubai] are at an acceptable level, in terms of experience of people there are certainly very few properly trained, specialised and experienced breast cancer specialists in the country.’ The foundation prides itself on offering specialist care, which is funded through donations and fundraising activities – with many activities planned for the city this October. Despite these hurdles, what is known is that out of 100 newly diagnosed breast cancer cases, approximately one will affect a man.
Although cases of men with breast cancer are rare, when present it tends to be aggressive – and survival rates are low. The key across the board is early detection – the earlier you catch breast cancer, the better your chances of survival.
Typically, there are no symptoms, though as it grows it can form a lump that can be felt in the breast tissue, which makes regular self-examinations important (see our four-step guide on how to do this on p24). As a general rule, breast cancer can affect absolutely anyone and some factors have been picked out as increasing an individual’s risk, such as ageing, family medical history, late menopause, being more than 40 percent overweight, smoking and frequent use of pregnancy control pills. Even if none of these factors apply to you, you are by no means in the clear, so regular screening is essential. To find out where Pink Caravan will be holding free screenings in Dubai, visit www.pinkcaravan.ae.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. It is also the principle cause of death from cancer among women globally.