Pink Caravan 2015 plans national cancer registry

SHARJAH, 26th February, 2015 (WAM)– The Pink Caravan, a pan-UAE breast cancer awareness initiative by the Friends of Cancer Patients charity (FoCP), is planning the establishment of a UAE National Cancer Registry and improvement of examination standards at government and private medical institutions.

Unveiling the details of the 5th annual Pink Caravan Ride to promote community awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer and dispelling misconceptions related to the disease, Ameera BinKaram, President of the Board of Trustees, said yesterday that the Pink Caravan has managed to spread considerable awareness about the significance of early detection and self-examination of breast cancer, and succeeded in dispelling myths surrounding the disease, thanks to the generous patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

BinKaram went on to say that the Pink Caravan achievements would not have been possible without the support and follow-up of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients Society.

BinKaram added that Sheikha Jawaher, who is also the International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) as well as International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, has provided every possible means of support for cancer patients – particularly those with breast cancer – out of her strong faith in the need to ensure and preserve human health and safety.

BinKaram also pointed out that the Pink Caravan has succeeded over the past year in offering early detection breast cancer screenings to nearly 29,000 women and men of all nationalities and ages from all over the UAE.

“The Pink Caravan provides intensive support and treatment for 30 patients with breast cancer annually, at a total cost of AED7.5 million. It was able to expand the FoCP voluntary team to include more than 300 persons, institutions and companies at present, alongside doctors, nurses, students and families of cancer patients from various nationalities who took it upon themselves to help and support cancer patients,” she added.

This year’s ride – which will take place from March 16th-25th – coincides with the 5th anniversary of the Pink Caravan, a campaign that has managed to bring about a great shift in society’s perceptions of breast cancer and the way they deal with it.

Liz de Jong, Project Manager at FoCP, talked about the four basic pillars of the 2015 Pink Caravan Ride, consisting of the riders, mobile clinics, events and ambassadors. She noted that the ride will exceed the 1,200 km mark as it travelled across the country over the past five years, to convey the message of awareness about breast cancer.

She lauded the role of partners and volunteers in supporting the annual horseback trek, and reiterated that the positive results brought about by the Pink Caravan in the UAE society are a natural result of the admirable support of leaders, institutions and the community in the UAE.

According to data, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women worldwide, accounting for 16% of all cancer types. About 1.1 million women across the world are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, 410,000 of whom die of cancer.

Since its inception in 2011, the Pink Caravan has sought to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, and of highlighting the impact of the disease throughout the UAE.

The press conference was also attended by Dr. Khalid Al Midfa, Director-General of Sharjah Media Corporation, Sawsan Jaffar, Member of the FoCP Board of Trustees, Muhammad Al Musharekh, FoCP Board member, Abdul Nasser Al Midfa, Head of Retail Credit Services at Sharjah Islamic Bank, heads of the 2015 PC Ride committees, a number of FoCP members, and media representatives.