The event was held at the Kattameya Heights and involved a golf tournament as a side activity. Each attendant was given a pink ribbon which is the color of breast cancer survivors. “When we decided to do “A Rally for a Cure”, we thought that only 30 guests will respond but we received an immense feedback and interest from far more women”, tells us Dr. Rashad, a Radiologist specialized in Mammograms. “One of these ladies was diagnosed with breast cancer so she thought of the idea of doing a rally for breast cancer, so she released an ad and we all got together”, adds Dr. Rashad.
“The treatment for breast cancer has improved very much, though breast cancer is the most fatal disease for women. The most common tumor among women is skin cancer, but skin cancer is not lethal. In the past women who were diagnosed with breast cancer had to remove the whole breast and had to undergo chemotherapy. The removal of the breast has tremendous effects of the woman’s psyche and her mental status. You mostly hear about women that are diagnosed with breast cancer abroad rather than in our society because here in Egypt we do not talk enough about this topic in public”, Dr. Rashad laments. With the public announcement of Betty Ford more than twenty years ago about her breast cancer diagnosis the road for NGOs and women’s organizations was paved. There are 23000 women organizations for breast cancer raising awareness and supporting diagnosed women. Here in Egypt we lack such a movement; the organizations that engage in these activities are very few and need more public support. Many breast cancer cases could have different turns would the tumor be detected in preventive examinations at the doctor or even self-examinations.
“The chemotherapy in a pill is a break through, which doesn’t imply a removal of the whole breast yet only the tumor (lumpectomy). Early detection is the best solution. First your breasts are not equally sized so if you remove a tumor from one breast it won’t show, and maybe they will look even in size, and the scar will be under and below the breast and wont see it” explains Dr. Rashad about many revolutions in breast cancer treatment. These treatments need to be more publicized so women know about alternatives. Young women these days are not told to go to yearly preventive breast cancer examinations, there must be public awareness campaigns about that issue.
“That’s what we are trying to do, there are two NGO’s in Egypt, one is called Al Amal (Hope) whose co-founder is a breast cancer survivor. The other organization is called the Egyptian Breast Cancer Society whose founder is also a survivor. We all preach that early detection is the key issue to treatment”, says Dr. Rashad and explains the methods, “You can do it in 3 ways, one is self examination, every woman should do it once a month and it’s ideally ten days after the period. You divide the breast into 4 quarters and you examine it with your hand. When you do the self breast examination we don’t want you to become expert in breast surgery, we want you to get acquainted to your breast as 95% of women discover breast cancer by self examination. Second thing, you have to do an x-ray for the breast. The American Society said the first time you make one you should be at the age of 35 as the base line, and then you repeat it every two years, except if you have a family history, and then it must be done yearly. The third thing method for early detection is a yearly mammogram. It is an essential for women”.
It is women who have to fight, its women who should tell their mothers, their sisters, and their friends that it’s a fatal disease that needs awareness and early detection.