Looks matter but not at cost of breast cancer awareness
DUBAI: A Dubai-based specialist oncologist on Monday evening expressed hope that women take time out from their busy schedules and other concerns to attend to their physical health and get into the habit of medical consultations.
“I just hope that as women are too concerned with their facial appearance, they also take time out to take care of their (physical health and do self-breast examination); go for the other tests available against breast cancer,” said Dr Nidha Iqbal Shapoo.
Afiliated with the Thumbay Hospital, Shapoo was interviewed ahead of the Beau Monde-health Magazine “Breast Cancer Awareness Event” wherein Himakshi Shastri (12) and sisters Mehr (12) and Shenaya (16) Bhatia were honoured for their creative pursuits in raising awareness and solutions against the disease which according to the World Health Organisation has so far two million new cases this year.
Shastri, also called “Rapunzel” by her loved ones for her long black thick hair is the brainchild of the Hair Donation Campaign began on her 12th birthday on April 6, 2018.
The campaign has signed up 40 donors—young and old alike—with their hair exported to the US then shipped back to the UAE as wigs for cancer patients through Sharjah’s Friends of Cancer Patients.
The Bhatia sisters have been selling assorted nuts in various events. All proceeds are donated to a home in India taking care of children cancer patients and survivors.
NMC Speciality Hospital-al Nahda (Dubai) physiotherapist Jerold Abraham sharedatthepredominantlyladies-in-pink gathering his advocacy for plant-based diet proven to be rich in all vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. He emphasised physical exercises, temperance and strong faith in God.
Abraham’s mother died of cancer years back.
Shapoo was interviewed as The Gulf Today obtained the Oct. 15, 2018 Aetna International (global insurance company)yougov (global public opinion and data company) Breast Cancer Awareness Research conclusions.
Out of 358 women respondents across the UAE, 43 per cent (154) have never taken steps to check for breast cancer; 30 per cent (107) are too scared to see a doctor even if they suspected they might have breast cancer; 22 per cent (79) feel they would be probably worrying about nothing; and 13 per cent (47) are too busy for doctor’s appointments.
Shapoo was a specialist oncologist in Saudi Arabia and Oman prior to her move to the UAE.
From her observation, there is lack of awareness on breast cancer and women are shy and scared of discussing their private parts and their breasts even with their husbands.
Shapoo said more women medical students should explore professionalizing on the areas of women’s health. A big number of women are still uncomfortable consulting with male physicians.
Women she has seen positive for breast cancer are as young as age 25 while pregnant women diagnosed to be at various stages of breast cancer are from ages 30 to 35.
“The breasts are engorged during pregnancy. The cancer may not be known because of the changes in the breasts at pregnancy.itonlygetsknownat(pre-natal) check-ups,” she said, adding she has also men breast cancer patients over age 50.
Shapoo strongly suggested that health be openly talked about as families may have dysfunctional genes somewhere through their ancestry or genealogy.
“I hope we express ourselves more. We should not be shy.our health is at stake.”
Shastri’s sources of inspiration were a grandmother who had passed on due to cancer and her maternal grandfather Dr Ram Buxani who has been encouraging her to make a difference albeit being juvenile.
It was a hair donation campaign at her school Dubai College that also led her to support cancer patients and survivors.
According to her mother Chetna, Shastri shocked them all with her decision to strip off 12 inches of her hair for cancer awareness and donation purposes: “She loves her hair so much.”
Sisters Mehr (left) and Shenaya (middle) Bhatia and Himakshi Shastri (second from right) are honoured at the “Breast Cancer Awareness Event” of Beau Monde and Health Magazine on Monday evening for their youth projects on the dreaded disease. With them are motivational speaker Sandee Saksena (second from left) and investor Laila Rahhal Elatfani (right).