Looks mat­ter but not at cost of breast can­cer aware­ness

The Gulf Today - - HOME - BY MARIECAR JARA-PUYOD

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).

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