DUBAI, 3rd October, 2016 (WAM) -- In supporting and furthering global efforts being undertaken during the International Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, Founding Board Member of Friends for Cancer Patients (FoCP), has officially launched Zulekha Hospitals breast cancer screening and prevention campaign, Pink It Now, aimed at advocating early detection and reduction of deaths from cancer across the UAE.

Now in its fifth consecutive year, the Pink It Now campaign enjoys the goodwill and patronage of several international and local doctors, and was launched alongside prominent global cancer campaigners.

The initiative is in line with the UAE governments health goal of decreasing cancer fatalities by 18 per cent by 2021, and is being undertaken in collaboration with The Pink Caravan, an FoCP initiative that has been functioning in the UAE since 2011 to raise awareness about breast cancer; highlighting the importance of early detection, regular check-ups, and dispelling the innumerable myths that surround this disease.

During the Pink It Now launch ceremony, Sheikha Lubna, emphasised the difference it makes in empowering the public through awareness campaigns such as this, when it comes to disease prevention and the promotion of health even more so in case of breast cancer, as early detection and timely treatment can reduce fatalities by up to 98 per cent.

"The Pink It Now campaign highlights the need for continued education and access to specialist screening options. It underlines Zulekha Hospitals steadfast commitment to helping address the healthcare needs of patients and their families within our community," Sheikha Lubna remarked.

"I take this opportunity to thank H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah; Founder and Royal Patron of FoCP, International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC and Patron of Global NCD Alliance Forum, for the pioneering role H.H. has played in spearheading Sharjahs and the UAEs ongoing battle against cancer and other NCDs," Sheikha Lubna added.

According to a WHO World Cancer Report, breast cancer has a substantially higher incidence than any other type of carcinoma. In 2012 alone the disease affected 25.2 percent of the worlds female population, with 14.7 per cent fatal cases. The UAE registered 568 incidences of the disease, a rate five times higher than those of cervical or colorectal cancer.

The Pink It Now launch ceremony featured the presence of esteemed guests, including Martin Kelly, Deputy Principal Officer, US Consulate General Dubai; Neeta Bhushan, DCM, Embassy of India, and Sue Nigoghossian from Ford Middle East and North Africa.

Ameera BinKaram, Founding Member and President of the Board of Directors of Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) Head of Pink Caravan Ride Higher Steering Committee, said, "Many women in the UAE still hesitate to attend regular cancer check-ups and they make medical appointments only when they are unwell. This puts their health at risk, particularly in view of the fact that breast cancer is the most common form cancer in women worldwide."

Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2016.