10th edition of Pink Caravan Ride reveals healthy dip in
number of positive breast cancer cases in UAE
- Only 6 women tested positive out of a total of 11, 007 people screened
- Only two were detected with Stage 3 cancer
- 4,296 checkups and screenings in Sharjah; highest number in all emirates
- 10th edition of the Friends Of Cancer Patients initiative ran from Feb 26 – Mar 6
For immediate release
Sharjah, May 04, 2020
With only six testing positive among a total of 11,007 men and women screened for breast cancer in the UAE this year, a relentless 10-year campaign by Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) – an initiative of the Sharjah-based non-profit Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP), is showing strong evidence of encouraging health behaviour change amongst residents of the UAE.
In its 10th edition that concluded in March this year, the strategically focused campaign aimed at improving public awareness of early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, its prevention and risk factors, has led to a significant dip in the number of those tested positive as compared to the previous editions. In 2019, for instance, 11 women in the 32-52 years age group tested positive out of a total of 7, 200 people who underwent screening.
The carefully targeted PCR campaign emphasising early detection of breast cancer through integrated awareness education and screening interventions has shown encouraging results as four of the six women of diverse nationalities who tested positive this year were in the early stages of cancer – one woman in Stage 1 and three in Stage 2. Only two women were in Stage 3, an advanced stage of the disease.
The diagnosed women are between the ages of 34 and 60 which further underscores the importance of regular check-ups and increased awareness.
Commenting on the results, HE Reem BinKaram, Chairperson of PCR Higher Steering Committee, said: “At PCR, we believe that early detection and improving risk factor awareness are the cornerstones of saving lives. The significant reduction in the number of positive cases this year despite having recorded the highest number of screenings in PCR’s 10-year history, points to the efficiency of the campaign’s year-round awareness drives. In Sharjah alone, we tested 4,296 citizens and residents, including 3,448 women and 846 men, making it the highest number of tests we performed in a single emirate this year. In the other six emirates too, this edition of PCR received a stronger public response than ever before, which gives us enormous sense of satisfaction. As more people continue to avail of our free screening services, early detection of cases is significantly improving survival rates.”
She continued: “Our experience at PCR has shown us that the single greatest factor for survival of women at a moderate or high risk of developing breast cancer is the detection of tumours at an early stage as these are usually smaller in size and less likely to have spread to lymph nodes. PCR’s educational programmes therefore strongly advocate the need for regular self-examination and clinical screening as these are integral to catching and treating the disease early thereby giving women the best possible chance of survival.”
“It also a measure of the success of PCR’s carefully planned and sustainable campaign that people have been adopting healthier lifestyles which has led to the drop in number of positive cases this year. Higher screening rates and lower incidence of positive cases further attests to the efficacy of PCR’s breast cancer awareness campaign. While this is certainly motivating, we will not rest until we achieve our goal of zero detections in the coming years,” she added.
Amongst the six cases detected at the 10th edition of the Pink Caravan Ride, two women were from Egypt and one each hailed from Morocco, Iran, Jordan, and Bangladesh. Four are residents of Sharjah while two are from Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. Only one patient has chosen to go back to her home country for treatment. Four women are being treated at the best medical facilities in the UAE while the sixth patient’s treatment is covered by her medical insurance.
It was on February 26 that PCR flagged off its 10th edition in Sharjah under the slogan ‘Plenty is not enough’. Over a 10-day period, it mapped more than 150 kms in the seven emirates accompanied by 150 equestrians, 350 doctors and medical professionals, and over 100 volunteers, delivering free screenings to citizens and residents of the UAE through more than 190 fixed, daily and mobile clinics.
The 10-day awareness campaign saw a total of 2,152 women being referred for mammograms. Of these, 345 got their tests done at PCR’s mobile clinics. A total of 639 ultrasound tests were carried out, of which 20 ultrasounds were for men.
The 2020 edition of the PCR campaign registered a record 2,761 men who were tested, of whom 178 were Emiratis. Of these, 109 were under the age of 40 while 69 men were above 40 years. Resident men numbered 2,606, including 1,863 below the age of 40, and 743 above 40 years.
The Pink Caravan Ride is organised by the UAE-based civil society organisation, Friends Of Cancer Patients (FOCP), under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah; and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Founder and Royal Patron of the ‘Friends Of Cancer Patients’ (FOCP), International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC.