ABU DHABI // A campaign aims to help change attitudes towards people living with metastatic breast cancer - a stage of the disease when cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.
These patients are a stigmatised and often forgotten part of the community, according to the Friends of Cancer Patients charity.
To change attitudes, the group is beginning a nationwide campaign called Breaking the Silence, launched under the Pink Caravan breast cancer initiative.
"The importance of creating awareness about metastatic cancer patients cannot be stressed enough," said Dr Mohammad Jaloudi, head of the oncology and haematology department at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain.
"Although early detection and awareness programmes have done a great deal for patients in their early stages of cancer, metastatic cancer patients are more often sidelined, as they are considered to be in the final stages of their life. This is not true. What people usually don't realise is that metastatic patients can live full lives for a long time - sometimes for years - with the help of new medical therapies and, as such, need to be taken back into the folds of society."
Awareness events will be held at University Hospital Sharjah at 11am tomorrow, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi at 12pm on Sunday and Tawam Hospital at 11am on Tuesday.
"The Friends of Cancer Patients, since its inception in 1999, has been supporting cancer patients and their families financially as well as emotionally and, to date, has helped more than 900 patients in their challenge," said Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, secretary general for the charitable society.