Dubai: Eight young men shaved their heads on Saturday in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early.
"We wanted to grab attention [about the early detection of breast cancer]," said Hassanain Anver, president of youth group, The Republic.
He said their Protect your Mom campaign kicked off within a week of Premy Mathew, a breast cancer survivor, approaching them. "We said, ‘Let's do it'," said Anver, who also got his head shaved.
The venue was the Tea Junction in Oud Metha, but the young men went to a nearby salon to get their heads shaved. Meanwhile, a breast cancer survivor spoke to the audience about how checking oneself can save your life. Doctors from a private clinic also took part in a question-and-answer session. Upasana Bhatia, press officer for The Republic, said the venue was chosen because it is a place where many people ‘hang out,'
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned breast cancer is a challenge for health systems across the globe. It is the second leading cause of death among women — although a simple regular check can save one's life and is the most effective early intervention.
A leading doctor earlier said while there have been various gains in the field, there are still drawbacks, including a shortage of local expertise in the field of screening mammography.
The other drawback is the lack of a population registry (of breast cancer cases). There are also cultural and socio-educational barriers, she said.
Last year, the Ministry of Health launched a campaign to make women aware of how they can help themselves. Dr Hanif Hassan, Minister of Health, said 84,000 women had undergone clinical tests since the screening plan was initiated in 1998. Anver said a video of the campaign will also be uploaded on YouTube and Facebook.
Common cancers in UAE:
- Breast cancer (14 per cent of total cases and 25 per cent of all cancer in women).
- Colon cancer: Number 3 in male cancers and number 4 in women (10 per cent of total cancers).
- Lung cancer: Number 2 cancer in men (nine per cent of total)
- Leukaemia: Number 1 in children below 15 years.
The website of the youth group: http://www.therepublicuae.com