It is October. The days are getting shorter and cooler. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also being launched here to raise public awareness of the issue and to offer screening services. With a grand opening ceremony in Ramallah, the Augusta Victoria Hospital مستشفى الأوغستا فكتوريا-المُطّلع, on whose compound the Central Office is located, together with the Mariam Foundation مؤسسة مريم لمكافحة السرطان and the Palestine Museum & Cultural Centre, kicked off this month by turning the sky pink. A digital mammography clinic at the hospital will be touring through Palestine all month for mammography examinations and check-ups.
In Gaza we as DSPR NECC have also put this month under breast cancer awareness and launched a campaign. We aim to give every woman access to screening and the support she needs at DSPR NECC health clinics. Breast cancer awareness sessions are held at the clinics. Women are encouraged to examine themselves and listen to signs from their bodies. We work closely with the Ministry of Health and other NGOs in Gaza. According to a UNFPA report, the negative social perception of breast cancer and its connection with death can prevent women from getting screened, leading in turn to delayed detection. Many avoid talking to anyone about it or seeking any treatment because it can affect their marital status, or they fear being abandoned by their husbands or affecting their daughters' marriage prospects. We try to counteract this negative image through our awareness-raising work in Gaza.