Sharjah: More than 6,740 people, including over 1,400 men, have so far taken breast cancer tests in the ongoing 10th edition of the Pink Caravan Ride (PCR), a national awareness campaign that began on February 26.
The annual PCR sees horseback volunteers tour the seven emirates raising awareness, as well as clinics offering complimentary screenings.
The campaign on Sunday wrapped up its fourth day of educating people about check-ups for early detection. The ride had reached Fujairah and Khorfakkan on Sunday.
The total number of Emirati women tested by Sunday was 376, while the number of expat women tested at the PCR clinics reached 4,954.
The fixed clinics set up across the seven emirates ahead of the ride, which will be active until its conclusion on March 6, tested 826 women prior to the ride and 3,057 women during the ride.
Meanwhile 1,447 women have approached the daily clinics that were set up to mark PCR’s presence in Sharjah and Dubai over the past four days.
Of the 1,199 mammograms and 387 ultrasound test referrals made by the PCR’s medical team, the PC mobile medical clinic has delivered 194 mammograms and seven ultrasound tests.
The number of men who turned up to be tested has been “encouraging” as well. A total of 1,418 men underwent tests for breast cancer, of which 106 were Emiratis. The number of expat men was 1,312, while 218 men were screened prior to the ride.
The daily clinics drew the highest number of men for testing – 1,040 – while 160 approached the fixed clinics. A total of six ultrasound tests were conducted for men till February 29.
The 10th edition of the ride, organised by the Pink Caravan, an initiative of UAE-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), started its 10-day journey in Sharjah on February 26. It aims to deliver more than 10,000 free check-ups alongside promoting awareness about the fact that 98 per cent of breast cancers are treatable if detected early, which is why regular screenings are vital.
On Saturday, PCR had delivered a second day of campaigning for Dubai. The safety of the pink crusaders along their equine route was ensured by Dubai Police patrols.
FOCP director-general Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, who is head of PCR’s medical team, said: “The public reaction to the ride so far demonstrates its level of acceptance in the UAE, given the large numbers that have come to get themselves tested. It is a matter of great pride for us and calls for praise for the medical teams that have taken great efforts in making PCR a success, as well as volunteers and riders for their role in promoting societal awareness about the importance of conducting self as well as periodic checks.”
Nicola Cadores, 24, who turned up to be tested in Dubai, said: “We came across the [PCR] clinic near our house, and we found it very convenient as they give you a free check-up. It is important to check for breast cancer even at this young age as a lot of people have it nowadays. Prevention is always better than cure, and that’s what the Pink Caravan offers.”
She added: “I used to have a yearly check-up even earlier. It goes back to my college days when it was mandatory for all students to get checked at the college clinic. So, yes, I have had a scary experience when they discovered a lump in one of my breasts and had to have it surgically removed. Luckily, it turned out to be benign. So, now I don’t want to risk it and get myself tested regularly.”
On Monday, PCR will reach Ras Al Khaimah and on Tuesday in Umm Al Quwain.