UAE's Pink Caravan to conduct genetic testing

Genetic testing been added to campaign after 15 positive cases of breast cancer detected by ride last year


This year, the Pink Caravan Ride (PCR) will provide genetic testing to make breast cancer treatment more effective in diagnosed cases.

The new initiative was announced on Wednesday during a Press conference by the Pink Caravan Higher Organising Committee. The genetic testing has been added to the campaign after 15 positive cases of breast cancer were detected by the ride last year - the highest number in a single edition.

Another addition to the ride is the introduction of a mini mobile clinic, which will travel the seven emirates with the campaign's equestrian volunteers. It will offer additional awareness lectures by medical experts, self-examination workshops, as well as preliminary manual checkups to support the services that will be offered by medical teams dedicated to each emirate. This is aimed at maximising the campaign's community outreach efforts.

Reem BinKaram, head of the Pink Caravan's Higher Organising Committee, told Khaleej Times that the ride targets to screen 9,000 men and women from various parts of the emirate. "We are planning to share our experience to the countries of the world, so they can implement it to spread awareness among people to reduce high risk of the disease," she added.

She said during the Press conference: "Eight years ago, when we launched the campaign, all we wanted to do was spread awareness about the importance of regular screenings and early detection. We were a bit wary of the way our campaign would be received - horses on the road, rallying support to create breast cancer awareness - a taboo topic we would generally push under the carpet," she added.

However, now the ride has become a nationwide annual celebration of hope, health and awareness, she said, adding that its success stories have spread in the region and far beyond. "People wait to join our campaign every year. I extend a 'pink thank you' for the efforts you all have put in. More than 16,000 mammograms have been conducted in the past eight years and more than 1,400 riders and volunteers have stressed the importance of early detection in all seven emirates," she said.

All these advancements are results of the encouraging and consistent efforts of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Founder and Royal Patron of FOCP, to who we will forever be grateful."

Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, director-general of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), said: "New approaches to strengthening a culture of awareness are at the heart of this ride. Last year, we announced the launch of the Pink Caravan permanent mobile mammogram clinic, which features best-in-class screening equipment and latest technologies used today for diagnosing breast and cervical cancers. This year, we are bringing genetic testing to make breast cancer treatment more effective."

In addition to the mainstream activities, a series of family-focused awareness events will also be organised at Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, corniche areas of Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman, and in Dubai Design District. In addition to the opening and closing ceremonies in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Pink Regatta will be organised in Dubai.

Day 0 (February 22) - Sharjah & Dubai

On February 22, free medical screenings will be offered exclusively to women at the Sahara Centre, and testing facilities for all walk-ins will be provided at the Sharjah National Park. In Dubai, the clinic will operate at St Thomas Orthodox Cathedral in Oud Metha.

Seven days, seven emirates: The ride route

Clinic timings: Pink Caravan medical clinics will operate from 10am to 6pm

Fixed clinics: From 4pm-10pm every day from February 21-March 2

Day 1 (February 23) - Sharjah

>Flag off at 10am

>Route: Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club - Coral Beach Resort - Souq Al Jubail - Al Majaz Waterfront

>End time: 5.15pm

>Distance: 39km.

>Women-only clinics - Sahara Centre, Mega Mall and Sharjah National Park.

>Exclusive for males at the Jubail Market.

>Fixed Clinic - Al Majaz Waterfront

Day 2 (February 24) - Ajman

>Start at 9.30am

>Route: Ajman Municipality - Ajman Marina - sand area opposite Ajman Fish market - Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital

>End time: 3pm

>Distance: 16km.

>Women-only clinics - Ajman University, Ajman Specialty General Hospital and Al Hamedia Health Centre

>Al Madina Health Centre will receive both men and women

>Fixed clinic - Ajman Corniche

Day 3 (February 25) - Dubai

>Start at 10am

>Route: Dubai Design District - d3 premises

>End time: 12 noon

>Distance: 2km

>Women-only clinics - Dubai Foundation For Women and Children, The Indian International School, DSO, Dubai Design District - d3.

>Clinic at Emirates Transport will cater to both men and women.

>Fixed clinic - The Mall of the Emirates (10am to 10pm)

Day 4 (February 26) - Umm Al Quwain

>Start at 9.30am

>The sand area near Marvelous Workshop in Umm Al Quwain - Umm Al Quwain General Hospital - National Flag area - Umm Al Quwain Museum

>End time: 3pm

>Distance: 15km.

>Women-only clinics - Al Salama Health Centre and Falaj Al Mualla Health Centre.

>Umm Al Quwain Hospital will offer screenings to men and women.

>Fixed clinic - Mall of Umm Al Quwain

(A clinic will offer screenings for women at Al Qasimi Hospital, Sharjah)

Day 5 (February 27) - Fujairah (Dibba & Khor Fakkan)

>Start at 9.30am

>Route: Khor Fakkan campus of Sharjah University - Khor Fakkan Hospital - Oceanic Khor Fakkan Resort & Spa - Dibba Hospital - Sambraid Beach

>End time: 6pm

>Distance: 40km.

>Women-only clinics - Fujairah Correctional and Punitive Enterprise, Dibba Al Hisn Ladies Club, Khor Fakkan Hospital and Khor Fakkan Ladies Club

>Dibba Hospital will receive both men and women.

>Fixed clinic - Lulu Mall

Day 6 (February 28) - Ras Al Khaimah

>Start at 9.30am

>Route: HCT - Ras Al Khaimah Women's College - Saqr Hospital - Manar Mall - RAK Corniche

>End time: 3pm

>Distance: 14.4km.

>Women-only clinics - Shaam Hospital, RAK Hospital and Abdullah Bin Omran Hospital

>Both women and men will be received at the clinics in Saqr Hospital and Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone.

>Fixed clinic - RAK Mall

Day 7 (March 1) - Abu Dhabi

>Start at 10am

>Route: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Health Point Hospital - Louvre Abu Dhabi

>End time: 4.30pm

>Distance: 34.9km.

>Women only clinics - Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club

>Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre will offer checkups to men and women

>Fixed clinic - Marina Mall (10am to 10pm)

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