A medical team from the Institut Gustave Roussy, a leading French cancer centre, joined the Pink Caravan Ride after radiologists Laila Haddag and Florence B. Jose visited the mobile clinic at Khorfakkan City, on Wednesday. This follows an agreement made in 2012 between the cancer centre and the University Hospital Sharjah, in collaboration with Gustave Roussy.
The breast cancer awareness campaign, a pan-UAE initiative by the Friends of Cancer Patients charity (FoCP), arrived at the Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort on its third day, travelling 40.5km from City Centre Fujairah.
Dr. Haddag said, "The Pink Caravan Ride is a source of inspiration to many people and institutions at local and global levels. The idea of riders touring from one region to another and visiting remote and distant areas, as well as establishing mobile clinics, will contribute significantly to raising awareness among people about breast cancer. It will also provide the opportunity for everyone to learn more about the seriousness of the disease and encourage early detection."
Florence B. Jose said, "On behalf of the Institut Gustave Roussy, I express admiration and appreciation for the work of the Pink Caravan and its vision to educate all segments of society about this disease. The work we carried out here will help interpret the results of these examinations, whether positive or negative, so as the necessary steps can be put in place for patients."
As an initiative launched under His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the FoCP has as its patron, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC.
According to Liz de Jong, Project Manager at FoCP, so far, breast cancer examinations have been offered to 1,791 men and women in the first three days of the Pink Caravan Ride, more than their expectations of offering 500 examinations per day.
She said, "The Pink Caravan has contributed significantly to increasing public awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, a fact that can be drawn from the impressive increase in the number of people who visited the Pink Caravan’s mobile clinics. This indicates the success of the Pink Caravan in achieving its goals, which will encourage us to continue with our mission to spread the awareness about the early detection of breast cancer and its seriousness."
De Jong praised the efforts of participating hospitals and their medical staff for volunteering and for the lengths they went to in decorating the clinics in pink. Staff also helped to promote the social media campaign, '#PinkThankYou', in the clinics, which was launched as a show of appreciation to the ride’s supporters.
The medical team conducted 561 examinations for 481 women and 80 men at mobile clinics in Fujairah and Khorfakan hospitals and Al Thamid Clinics on Wednesday, bringing the total number of examinations to 1,791 people; 376 men and 1,415 women. During their trip, the riders stopped several times in response to cheers from a large crowd lining the streets from Fujairah and Khorfakan.
Obeid Khalfan Al Khadeem, Director of Al Fujairah Hospital, said, "We aim, through our participation in the Pink Caravan Ride, to raise awareness about breast cancer, we have supported the ride since its inception in 2011, and we will continue our support until it achieves its objectives. I urge everyone to undergo early detection examination of this disease, since prevention is better than a cure, and the early detection of cancer ensures better treatment."
The Oceanic Khorfakan Resort hosted a dinner banquet in honour of the riders and medical team on Wednesday night. On Friday, the Pink Caravan will flag off from the Umm Al Qaiwain Hospital at 9a.m., heading for Ajman, and will reach Kempinski Hotel, Ajman, at 5.30p.m. after travelling 44 km.
Mobile clinics will be available at Al Hamidiya Park in Ajman and Sharjah National Park on Friday. Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Secretary-General of FoCP and Head of the Pink Caravan’s Medical Committee, urged the Emirati community to benefit from free examinations and lectures being conducted by the Pink Caravan, which it said, were of the highest quality of medical services utilising hi-tech equipment.
The Pink Caravan Ride will pass through all seven emirates, and wrap up in Abu Dhabi on March 25th. The initiative aims to raise awareness about breast cancer and screening methods, lobby for the creation of the first UAE National Cancer Registry, and raise sufficient funds to purchase and operate a state-of-the-art mobile mammography unit to offer free breast cancer screenings.