Charitable society takes metastatic breast cancer patients into its fold
25 June 13: After successful pan-UAE campaigns for awareness on early detectable cancers, the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) charitable society is expanding its fold to include metastatic breast cancer patients – a stigmatised and often forgotten segment of community, usually living with advanced stages of cancer – through its nationwide campaign titled ‘Breaking the Silence', launched under the Pink Caravan breast cancer initiative.
Beginning with three key medical institutes across the UAE, the campaign aims to empower metastatic patients to lead full lives and mould public opinion about those touched by the disease.
The events are being hosted at University Hospital Sharjah at 11 am on 27th June, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, at 12 pm on 30th June and, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, at 11am on 2nd July, and will see a rallying of metastatic patients, physicians, social workers, nurses, and the media.
Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, Secretary General for Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) charitable society, said, “The FoCP has launched ‘Breaking the Silence' as a metastatic breast cancer-focussed pan-UAE campaign under its Pink Caravan breast cancer awareness initiative to highlight the plight of metastatic cancer patients in the community. These patients form a segment of the society that is most often sidelined from the mainstream activities of daily life, making it much harder for them to access employment opportunities, continue studies, or lead healthy social lives due to the stigma associated with cancer.”
She went on to say, “The Friends of Cancer Patients and Pink Caravan, due to its collaboration and representation at international platforms, realised early on the need to create a platform for advanced or metastatic breast cancer patients and therefore ‘Breaking the Silence' is being launched. The Friends of Cancer Patients, since its inception in 1999, has been supporting cancer patients and their families financially as well as emotionally, and to date has helped more than 900 patients in their challenge. Now, expanding on its past experiences, FoCP is planning to take metastatic cancer patients into its fold, and encourage, motivate and empower them to live life to the fullest.”
“Our primary goal is to educate the public and media and through that, create widespread awareness about metastatic cancer – a stage of the disease where cancer cells have spread to other areas and is no longer localised– and encourage social acceptance for these patients. We look forward to a long and successful journey.”
Dr Mohammad Jaloudi, Head of Oncology and Haematology Department at Tawam Hospital, said, “The importance of creating awareness about metastatic cancer patients cannot be stressed enough. Although, early detection and awareness programmes have done a great deal for patients in their early stages of cancer, metastatic cancer patients are more often sidelined, as they are considered to be in the final stages of their life. This is not true. What people usually don't realise is that metastatic patients can live full lives for a long time, sometimes for years, with the help of new medical therapies and as such need to be taken back into the folds of society.”
The three events have been organised in partnership with Novartis – a pharmaceutical company known for investing in innovative research for marginalised diseases.