Avon raises about $700,000 for fighting cancer breast..AUC launches 1st Pink Ribbon Week

Avon raises about $700,000 for fighting cancer breast..AUC launches 1st Pink Ribbon Week
بقلم Marwa Nassar - -
The Breast Cancer Awareness Month marked in October is meant to increase awareness about the disease and the importance of early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. Several activities, including walks and runs, are organized to raise funds for fighting breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and the second most common cancer in general. The good news is: It is a highly treatable disease.
Marking the event, landmark world buildings—including the White House and the Eiffel Tower—have been illuminated in pink (the signature color of the campaign) sometime during October to keep the cause forefront on the minds of the public.

Joining the march of fighting breast cancer, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has raised more than $ 725 million until now through a wide range of fund raising programs including the sale of special Crusade “Silver Ribbon” products by Avon’s independent sales representatives, and fundraising events including concerts, walks, races and other special events held throughout the year across the world and individual and corporate donations.

Avon launched the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in 1992 in the UK and it has expanded to more 50 countries across the world, improving access to care and helping to find a cure.

The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade places special emphasis on reaching medically underserved women, including those on low income, the elderly and those who do not have adequate health insurance.

The Crusade provides funding to support five main areas; awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services for breast cancer sufferers and their families; and scientific research.

In each country where Avon has a Breast Cancer Crusade Program, the funds are targeted where they are most needed and where they can have the biggest impact for the benefit of women.

A major element of the Breast Cancer Crusade is the global Walk around the World for Breast Cancer with events in more than 50 countries held mainly in October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed that spreading awareness about breast cancer and early detection of the disease are pivotal for reducing deaths. Therefore,  the American University in Cairo launched its first Pink Ribbon Week – the first health fair: Breast Cancer Awareness.  The pink ribbon has been the logo of breast cancer awareness for the past several years, and its use is symbolic of one’s moral support for women with breast cancer.

The AUC’s Office of Medical Services is collaborating with the Student Union and the Office of Athletics to promote and host the fair from October 14 to 18 at the AUC HQ in New Cairo. The event included free and discounted services and checkups by prominent medical laboratories and companies and a weekly gynecologist visit to campus throughout the month.

Dr. Mohamed Amin, head of AUC’s Office of Medical Services, explained that the office is hoping to make the Breast Cancer Awareness event the first of many themed health fairs. “The idea of engaging awareness for breast cancer coincides with the Breast Cancer Awareness Month [October], or Pink Month,” he said. “AUC is focusing on internationalization, and we want the initiative to coordinate with other international events.”

The Office of Medical Services is collaborating with the Baheya Foundation for the Treatment of Breast Cancer, a charity hospital in Egypt that specializes in early detection and treatment for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Baheya started the event with a two-hour promotional lecture, discussing how to examine yourself, ways to protect against breast cancer and signs that you should visit a gynecologist.

The fair was meant to give attendees information about breast cancer, making them conscious of risk factors and aware of resources such as Baheya. “Breast cancer is now considered curable,” Amin explained. “If you discover it early, you can cure it early, so engaging awareness will benefit the whole community, including students, parents, staff and faculty.”

With different activities every day, the fair included multiple fun events including zumba and hip-hop dancing. There were also  an ice cream stand and a pink decoration craft. Other vendors were supporting the event as well, including multiple labs and medical companies that offer free and discounted services during the week. A gynecologist visits the clinic once a week during the month of October to answer questions and offer medical advice.

“Sometimes when students hear about cancer they are afraid to talk about it, but if we make it a fun event, people will be willing to learn and will realize there is a high cure rate,” Amin said. “They will learn how to protect themselves.”

According to the World Health Organization, there are about 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008). Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. In low- and middle-income countries the incidence has been rising up steadily in the last years due to increase in life expectancy, increase urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.

Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option. In such cases, palliative care to relief the suffering of patients and their families is needed.

The majority of deaths (269 000) occur in low- and middle-income countries, where most women with breast cancer are diagnosed in late stages due mainly to lack of awareness on early detection and barriers to health services. Maria’s story (see below) illustrates this dramatic situation common to thousands of women in resource constrained settings. A situation that can be reverted if adequate public health programs are put in place.

WHO promotes comprehensive breast cancer control programs as part of national cancer control plans. The recommended early detection strategies for low- and middle-income countries are awareness of early signs and symptoms and screening by clinical breast examination in demonstration areas.

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