ABU DHABI // Bushara Mohammed has survived breast cancer. Now she wants other women to know how important it is to examine themselves for early signs of the disease, which is the leading cause of cancer death among women in the UAE. The Emirati mother, 34, is one of six women who tell their stories in Healing and Hope, a documentary screened on Wednesday night at the Emirates Palace hotel. "It is in your hands," she said. "People in the UAE are very conservative and don't talk about this disease enough. I am very pleased to be part of this project to encourage others." The 18-minute film was produced by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi as part of the Global Initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness, and the US-based Susan G Komen for the Cure foundation.
"Simple steps like women having a mammogram can help in saving valuable lives," said Zaid al Siksek, the chief executive of the HAAD. Dr Lamia Safi Eldeen, from the breast cancer programme at the HAAD, selected and interviewed the women used as case studies for the film. She said she hoped the project would break down the social stigmas associated with the disease. "People think breast cancer runs in the family, so they won't talk about it," she said. "They think if they admit to having had it, then no one will marry their daughters.
"This is not true; only about five to 10 per cent of cases are hereditary. All six women in the film did not have it in their families." Healing and Hope can be viewed online through the website www.simplycheck.ae