Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Egypt Marked by Dynamic New Cooperation among Advocates from U.S. and Middle East

Published October 21st, 2009 - 09:59 GMT
Breast cancer advocates from the United States and around the Middle East will converge in Egypt October 21-27 for unprecedented cooperation aimed at elevating awareness of breast cancer in the region and beyond.
The U.S. nonprofit organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, which pioneered the use of public footraces to break the taboo on discussing breast cancer and has become the world’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization and source of private funding for breast cancer research and care, is activating new partnerships with the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt and the Suzanne Mubarak Regional Center for Women’s Health and Development in Alexandria, with support from the governments of Egypt and the United States.
Among the week’s events:
• Breast cancer advocates from 10 Mideast countries will gather October 21-22 in Alexandria for training and commemorations.
• Hundreds of citizens will turn out October 24 for the Egypt Race for the Cure® at the legendary Great Pyramids of Giza.
• Leading researchers will convene October 24-27 in Cairo for the University of Florida’s Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease, with a keynote address October 25 by Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Komen for the Cure and the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control.
The global cooperation is under the auspices of Egypt’s First Lady, Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, and supported by the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement, the Egyptian Ministry of Health, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with assistance from the Institute of International Education and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs.
“With nearly half a million women around the globe dying from breast cancer each year, together we can break the silence, raise awareness about this devastating disease, and ultimately save lives here in Egypt and throughout the world,‿ said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, the founder of Komen for the Cure. “We work together to increase public education and promote early detection so we can reach women at the earliest stage of the disease when treatment is most successful,‿ added Brinker, who recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is leading a delegation of 40 U.S. advocates to learn about the state of breast cancer in Egypt.
“Breast cancer is a concern for people all over the world. But for the United States and our friends in the Middle East, it is the focus of specific, concentrated, and positive action,‿ said U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey. “The United States has placed major resources toward promoting early detection of breast cancer and awareness about the disease. The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, is working with the Egypt Ministry of Health and supporting vital research into the barriers to early detection with technical assistance from Johns Hopkins University and in cooperation with the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt. The United States government is also supporting the international outreach of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We are fortunate that Komen for the Cure has moved onto the world stage to share its knowledge and success.‿
Komen for the Cure held its first Race for the Cure in Dallas, Texas, in 1983, growing to nearly 125 cities in the U.S. and 14 cities internationally. The October 24 event at the Pyramids will be the first Komen Race for the Cure in the Middle East and North Africa.
The chairman of the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt, Dr. Mohamed Shaalan, believes the high-level international cooperation behind the week’s events will make a fundamental change in the work of breast cancer programs in Egypt. “The week’s events are a demonstration of the cooperation between countries, governments, civil society, advocates, survivors and the global community as a whole,‿ said Dr. Shaalan. “It shows that breast cancer has no boundaries and reveals the beauty of the world’s unity in its fight against breast cancer. The week will stand as a great addition to the global breast cancer movement, especially in the Middle East.‿
“Women’s health and well-being are inextricably linked with the building of safe and secure societies,‿ says Nagwa Shoeb, Director General of the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement. “Our President and Founder, H.E. Mrs. Mubarak, believes that to maximize the potential of women in fostering peace and security we must ensure their human right to health care, education and economic opportunity. We are delighted to support the upcoming breast cancer awareness raising events and to help break the silence surrounding this disease, as early detection will save lives.‿
Detailed Events Schedule
• On Wednesday, October 21, leaders of the partner organizations will join at the Suzanne Mubarak Regional Center in Alexandria for a public ceremony called “Breaking the Silence in Egypt: A Celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness.‿ Featured speakers will include Egypt Minister of Health Dr. Hatem El Gabaly, U.S. Ambassador to Cairo Margaret Scobey, and Komen for the Cure President and CEO Hala Moddelmog, along with Dr. Mohamed Shaalan, chairman of the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt (BCFE); Dr. Dorreya Salem, director of Egypt’s National Breast Cancer Screening Program; Nagwa Shoeb, director-general of the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement; Dr. Hassan Sallam, director of the Suzanne Mubarak Regional Center for Women’s Health and Development (SMC); and an Egyptian breast cancer survivor.
• On Thursday, October 22, the Mubarak Center will host a Regional Training Seminar on Breast Cancer Support Groups led by Susan G. Komen for the Cure for 30 Egyptian and Mideast regional breast cancer advocates. This practical, hands-on seminar will provide information and tools that can be used to start support groups and serve as an opportunity to discuss the unique needs of countries in the region.
• From October 22 to 27, Komen for the Cure Founder Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker will lead a high-level delegation of advocates, donors and breast cancer survivors to gain an understanding of the state of breast cancer in Egypt through first-hand visits with medical professionals and patients. Delegates will also witness the impact of collaboration between leading non-governmental and governmental organizations.
• On Saturday, October 24, at 10 a.m. Komen, BCFE and the Women’s Peace Movement will hold the 2009 Egypt Race for the Cure at the Great Pyramids of Giza. A 1.5-km run and walk across the legendary site will be followed by a parade for all participants and families. Families and teams affiliated with local institutions will attend. An awards ceremony will recognize breast-cancer survivors. Live music will follow. Advance registration and shuttle service is available at sites around Cairo: For information, phone (02) 3536-6066 or visit http://www.bcfe.org/en/view.asp?SecID=117.
• On Saturday, October 24 from 8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m., the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo will host a public forum in connection with the 15th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease (see below). The forum is an opportunity for individuals, survivors of breast cancer, health personnel who work in the field of breast cancer, as well as local and national public figures on the national, to pose questions that may help clarify concepts about breast cancer and strategies for combating the disease.
• From Sunday, October 25 through Tuesday, October 27, the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo will host the University of Florida’s 15th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease with the support of BCFE, Egypt’s National Cancer Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Cancer Society, and others. The purpose of the Symposium is to bring together leading medical experts from around the globe to address disparities in quality of care, preventative practices and clinical outcomes associated with breast cancer. Ambassador Brinker will deliver the keynote address at the opening session of the Symposium on Sunday, October 25 at 10:00 a.m.

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