DUBAI // Men and women on horseback will trot into towns and villages across the country next month as part of a tour promoting the need for breast cancer screenings.
It is hoped the riders will encourage interaction with families, particularly in rural areas, during the second annual 10-day Pink Caravan - Riding for Courage event.
Organisers hope that 5,000 people will be screened, up from the 1,600 who were examined during the ride last year.
"We want women to get into the habit of a yearly examination," said Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, head of the campaign's medical and awareness committee.
"We need to offer clinical consultation and examination on the spot because once the lady comes in, it's difficult to catch her again since she may not attend a second appointment."
The ride includes a mobile unit that can carry out mammograms. The screenings are free and conducted by nurses and doctors. Last year, people were referred to a hospital or clinic.
A major goal of the campaign is to build a patient registry. There is no nationwide data about the number of cancer patients or their care. The information will be submitted to the federal Ministry of Health.
The event also hopes to raise awareness that breast cancer affects men, too. Global statistics show that one in every 100 cases affects a male.
Last year's ride found that many women in rural areas had never had an examination, even though regular screenings can help catch the disease at an early stage.
Last year, more than 100 riders covered a 330-kilometre route. For details of this year's tour and to register as a rider, visit www.pinkcaravan.ae.