Every October the world renews its vows to cancer awareness, works for more cases to survive each year and targets the discovery of the long awaited cancer prevention medication. Despite the fact that being a pharmacist allowed me to conduct various researches and presentations tackling breast cancer specifically, this was my first cancer awareness event…
The event organized by: The Suzanne Mubarak Regional Center for Women’s Health and Development, Woman and Fetal Imaging (WAFI center)
Aim: Breast cancer early detection, cervical cancer vaccination and celebrating the world’s arthritis day.
Location: Four Season’s Nile Plaza
The day started with me racing to get there in time; as I was rushing through the doors, I ran into Mona Zaki who was taking part in the event herself and was kind enough to allow me this quick talk…
L: Mona, Why is it important for you to participate in such events?
M: To support the cause itself.
L: What do you expect from such events?
M: Awareness, I believe such events to be extremely important in serving that purpose and fighting such a dangerous disease.
L: Do you consider similar events to be productive in delivering the necessary awareness to the less fortunate women?
M: All I can say is that it’s a good start for the wheel to start turning…
Following the interview, I took the elevator to reach the second floor where the event was taking place. I was walking into the small hall as Mrs. Mona Bahaa was giving her speech which instantly got me interested. She was talking about the psychological effects of cancer and how hard it is to cope with the disease when almost everyone’s treating you like a sick person. Being a survivor herself, she admitted that it’s the patient who determines how she wants to be treated. In other words, if she’s walking all active and living as if nothing has happened in the first place, people will eventually stop bothering her about her condition and will allow her the chance to focus on getting better rather than fighting off people’s sympathy looks.
Her presentation was mostly captivating because I never realized that cancer was a two dimensional disease, may be because I was deliberately focused on its phases and severity degrees that I completely forgot the- living- with- the- disease- part. I was mostly convinced by her words for it’s the face we show the world that forevermore frame us as victims or heroes. And personally, I see a huge difference between support and plain out useless sympathy.
The- been there done that- talk was what the audience needed to open up their hearts and share their own experiences and demands, one of which was a clustering demand for support groups especially at governmental hospitals to help patients get rid of the infamous depression accompanied by such disease.
We fast forward 15 minutes later, when I met Dr. Hanan Gwefl- Consultant of Radiology and
Director of Breast Imaging- WAFI center. Dr. Hanan allowed me a very productive interview with Dr. Natalie Doshson – Professor of diagnostic breast Radiology, Monterial, Canada.
I ushered Dr. Natalie outside the hall for a much quitter talk and as I was about to ask my first question, she pointed to the empty paper I carried implying “please state that…”
Dr.N: I’m very much impressed by today’s event and how well organized it is. Because from where I come from, we don’t have enough seminars to discuss such matters.
L: How do you view the rate with which medical researchers work for discovering the preventing drug in comparison to the spread of the disease?
Dr.N: Researchers are working very hard in that area, but it’s the awareness that counts at this point, for the earlier we detect the disease; the more efficient we eradicate it and consequently decreasing the number of cases worldwide. But unfortunately, despite all the undeniable efforts, we didn’t reach the prevention phase just yet thus early detection remains the key word for cancer.
L: How do you think we can increase awareness to save more women?
Dr.N: Through you, the media, the more you write and talk about it in TV, the more women educated. You know in North America, everywhere turns pink in October thus everyone gets reminded of the presence of such disease and accordingly each woman goes for the routine simple tests for breast cancer detection.
On my way out, I glimpsed the neighbouring hall where the world’s arthritis day is being celebrated. The majority of the presentations given focused on positive thinking and the psychological support rheumatism patients need in order to survive the incurable deformities… Standing outside the hall, I had the chance to chat with a representative from WAFI center, who told me all about their generous offer of a one week free of charge mammography and ultrasound tests for cancer detection that has been going on for the past year and a half. The criteria on which patients are selected for the free services are somehow strict but it’s all because the limiting financial sources. So I’m thinking that if more sponsors were involved then the center will definitely be able to serve much more women from different age groups and needs.
Upon leaving the hotel, I couldn’t help but wonder what if every woman took the initiative to tell her friends and neighbors about the breast cancer home test and the benefits of early detection herself, because Breast Cancer still is alarmingly spreading among women and since nothing flies faster than women’s gossip, then lets gossip about that and hope for next October to be celebrating the birth of a cancer prevention vaccine and the health of every woman on earth.