Pink balloons dominated the air just outside Zulekha Hospital in Al Nahda as the crowd released hundreds of balloons in the air as a symbolic gesture to mark the second year of ‘Think Pink’, a breast cancer awareness campaign which is the second to be launched by Joy Alukkas after a successful awareness campaign in 2011.
This time it is done in partnership with Zulekha Hospital.
The launch was witnessed by Dr Amer Sharif, acting CEO (Hospital Sector) of Dubai Health Authority, renowned breast cancer research specialist Dr Pamela Munster, and Dr Zulekha Daud, managing director of Zulekha Healthcare Group.
A breast cancer survivor, Rohanni (not her real name), came out in the open to recall the support of her family and doctors that enabled her to rise from the difficulties and depression that followed her diagnosis of breast cancer. “Now, I am free from it, and I encourage women to go for early medical checkup. I’ve fought for my life,” she said.
She said that she became short-tempered because of what she went through, but her family and friends started to understand that she was going through something difficult. “They supported me and I got out of my depression until I was declared cancer-free,” she added.
“Go out and share your story,” Dr Sharif urged all breast cancer survivors to encourage women, who have noticed some physical changes in their breast and armpit to see a doctor for early detection of the cancer.
Dr Munster, popularly known as Dr Pam, who is also a professor at the Department of Medicine (Haematology/Oncology) at the University of California in San Francisco and director of Early Drug Development and Breast Cancer, is also a breast cancer survivor. She says that breast cancer is curable if diagnosed early. The rate of survival is high if the breast cancer has not spread to the armpit. Any reddish development on your breast that will not go away after ten days of taking antibiotics should be referred to a doctor,” she said.
Dr Pam, who is developing and testing 30 new breast cancer drugs in the Early Drug Development and Breast Cancer at the University of California’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre, said an average of 85-90 per cent of breast cancer survivors have survived ten years without the recurrence of the cancer.
Lauding the Think Pink campaign, she said: “The best for breast cancer patients is to come to terms with the diagnosis and get over the secrecy and shame of having cancer. Cancer should not be kept a secret. Ask people to help; you will realise how much support the people around you give,” Dr Pam said.
She said that in most cases, cancer crops up after a delivery or after a pregnancy. “Go for self-examination daily of your breast for early detection.”
Joy Alukkas, chairman and managing director of Joy Alukkas Group, said his company decided to continue with ‘Think Pink’ as one of the key initiatives of its corporate social responsibility division.
“Breast cancer is affecting a lot of women and the disease if detected early can be completely cured. Our aim with ‘Think Pink’ is to build awareness, educate and empower women on this disease,” he said.
Dr Zulekha Daud said while women over 40 years are globally the most affected, younger women now are also being diagnosed with breast cancer in the UAE. “We hope ‘Think Pink’ will add to the activities undertaken by various bodies to build awareness, educate and protect women,” she said.
Source : Khaleej Times