A lecture on cancers in men organised by Friends of Cancer Patients in UAE recently Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: UAE-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) has organised a series of events as part of its ‘Shanab’ initiative for greater public awareness about cancers affecting men, throughout November, observed as ‘Men’s Health Awareness Month’.

Shanab, which means moustache in Arabic, is part of the Kashf programme set up by FOCP to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of prostate as well as testicular cancer and endeavours to eliminate stigmas surrounding them.

Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, director-general of FOCP, said: “Research studies have shown that prostate and testicular cancer continue to be among the top cancers affecting our male population. Most men are completely unaware of both cancers, despite being the most common types of cancer among men aged between 15 and 37 years.”

She added that prostate cancer usually occurs in older men, with six in 10 cases occurring in men aged 65 or older. Digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate specific antigen (PSA) are two major tests for early detection of prostate cancer. Both cancers are curable if detected early.

#Shanab_IT challenge

As part of its education campaign, Shanab launched #Shanab_IT, a month-long challenge that men can take to keep active and engage with colleagues and friends while learning about the signs and symptoms of prostate and testicular cancer. Upon signing up, participants are sent a box containing different styles of false moustaches, to be worn on for every day of the challenge. The objective of the Shanab box is to break the taboo around prostate and testicular cancer and initiate conversations that increase awareness that can lead to early detection and cure.

Webinar and lectures

FOCP also hosted an educational awareness webinar featuring specialists in the field. The webinar is available online and can be accessed at FOCP’s YouTube channel.

Shanab is also offering lectures and check-ups under FOCP’s ‘Corporate Wellness Day’ initiative targeting public and private corporate entities in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.


FOCP has initiated a digital crowd fundraising campaign for Shanab through Yalla Give. Companies as well as individuals are encouraged to set up their own fundraising campaign through the Yalla Give platform to support the initiative. Organisations can create a company fundraiser to encourage staff to be a part of the movement. They need to sign up and register as a company on the Yalla Give website and select Friends of Cancer Patients as charity partner to fundraise for Shanab initative.

They can also donate to the initiative on FOCP’s online donation platform at FOCP’s website. Donations can also be made via SMS mentioning ‘Shanab’ in the text to 6447 (Dh20); 4426 (Dh50); 4467 (Dh200); and 2308 (Dh500), on etisalat.

Shanab cross-country ride

Harley motorcycle owners’ group also organised a cross-country motorcycle ride in collaboration with FOCP, to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer in the UAE under Shanab.

Shanab ride to raise awareness passing through Sharjah Image Credit: Supplied

The ‘Shanab Ride’ was flagged off from Cafe Rider Custom in Dubai and went on until Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort, where an event was held to help raise funds for the cause.

Rider Aftab Mukadam, who has been participating in the ride for the past three years, said: “The Shanab Ride is very close to my heart. Being a part of this ride for the third year in a row along with my fellow motorcycle riders and our motorcycling community is an experience that cannot be described. We are passionate about creating awareness within our community and society.”