Ministry of Health and Prevention, Pink Caravan and other partners are leading the campaign Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has launched this year’s National Awareness Campaign for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer under the slogan ‘Powered by You’. Through the campaign, the Ministry aims to raise societal awareness on the vital impact of early detection and means of preventing the disease, while offering comprehensive services to combat breast cancer from detection through treatment.

Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), represented by the Pink Caravan, is joining forces with the Ministry to run the campaign along with other strategic partners. The awareness campaign was launched at the beginning of ‘Pink October’, endorsed by the World Health Organisation as World Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Its goals include educating women on how to perform self-examinations, offering preventive tips and check-ups, and providing free mammograms for women aged 40 and above under the supervision of qualified medical professionals with positive cases referred to specialised hospitals for treatment.

The campaign also aims to bolster the cooperation and partnership of all governmental and non-governmental health agencies to support the Ministry’s efforts to battle breast cancer.

Screening centres

As part of the campaign, the Pink Caravan mobile clinic is visiting several locations and workplaces to offer screenings. Meanwhile, on the awareness front, the Ministry is continuously posting preventive tips, messages, and informative videos about the importance of early detection on its social media platforms.

The campaign was launched at the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s headquarters, where screening is also provided. The ceremony was attended by Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, assistant undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, and senior officials from corporate sponsors.

Other screening locations include the Emirates Development Bank (EDB) in Abu Dhabi, the EDB’s Dubai branch, City Centre Mirdif in Dubai, and Al Majaz Park in Sharjah, and at the Etihad Airways office in Abu Dhabi, Examinations will also be provided at the Emirates Airline Headquarters in Dubai on October 25, and Kite Beach in Dubai on October 29.

National Cancer Index

Dr Al Rand emphasised the importance of the campaign organised annually by the Ministry and other health authorities during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He commended the Friends of Cancer Patients in Sharjah and other bodies and institutions for their efforts to boost the impact of the campaign, which he termed “a national humanitarian duty” through which the UAE has been able to establish its groundbreaking experience on the regional level.

Al Rand noted that the UAE’s national programme for early detection of breast cancer follows global best practices. “Through this campaign, we seek to increase early diagnosis of the disease to help patients access comprehensive care, based on the principle that patients are at the centre of all we do,” he said.

Al Rand invited all members of society and national institutions to engage with the campaign to combat breast cancer on a wide scale and encourage early detection.

Awareness campaign

Dr Buthaina Bin Belaila, head of the Non-Communicable Disease and Mental Health Department at the Ministry, explained that the annual breast cancer awareness campaign features a lineup of awareness-raising activities at government entities, offers consultations and breast cancer risk assessments, and encourages women, especially those aged 40 and above, to conduct periodic exams. Early detection, she noted, raises the recovery rate above 95 per cent.

Dr Belaila explained that the national campaign focuses on risk factors that only increase the vital importance of early cancer detection. In addition, it encourages individuals to follow healthy lifestyle choices, eat healthy food, maintain physical activity, and refrain from smoking.