Gazan Women Participate in Pink Sports Day to Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

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  • TEMPO.COGaza - In an atmosphere of enthusiasm, dozens of women from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Oct. 14, participated in activities of the Pink Sports Day held at the coastal enclave's Yarmouk Stadium.

    The event, held by the non-profit organization the Culture and Free Thought Association, was part of the regional campaign to raise awareness of early detection of breast cancer.

    Under the slogan "Have you been tested?" it started with a walking marathon where survivors of the disease, along with their family members and dozens of other participants, wore pink clothes and carried pink slogans urging women to go check themselves.

    Besides sports activities such as yoga and cycling, there were also artistic and recreational ones.

    Ferial Thabit, director of the Women's Health Center at the Foundation for Culture and Free Thought, told Xinhua that the annual campaign aims to encourage women aged above 20 to conduct self-examinations and have a medical check-up monthly.

    Women aged 40 and above should undergo an annual mammogram to maintain their health, she said.

    "This year's Pink October campaign launched by the organization began with a wide media campaign and a pink convoy that roamed the governorates of the Gaza Strip, so as to reach the largest possible number of women and invite them to carry out periodic examinations for breast cancer," Thabit explained.

    Eman al-Huwaihi, the project coordinator said that the Pink Sports Day is a message sent to women that highlights the importance of maintaining their health, Xinhua reported.

    Ebtisam Hamad, a breast cancer survivor, said without her early detection of the disease, she would not have managed to escape death.

    "Today, I am standing in front of many women to tell the story of my survival," she said, stressing the importance of periodic check-ups for women.

    "Unfortunately, many Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip discovered their illness at the last stages of the disease, when they were close to death or the stage of danger," said a participant named Heba al-Salihi.

    According to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, the number of registered cases of cancer patients during the past few years has reached 8,644 in Gaza.

    "The Gaza Strip records nearly 2,000 cases annually," Ahmed al-Shorafa, head of the oncology department at the Gaza European Hospital, told Xinhua.

    He said breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the Gaza Strip, with a rate of 18 percent among women and men, followed by colon cancer, leukemia, thyroid cancer, and lung cancer.

    "Awareness campaigns organized by civil institutions can greatly help detect the disease at an early stage, which means the treatment journey will be faster and the recovery rate will be higher," he explained. 

    Read: Walking Reduces Breast Cancer Risk