For cancer patients, the physical pain and emotional strain are often exacerbated by the financial burden
Early detection benefits one and all
As Breast Cancer Awareness month kicks off, landmarks around the world are lit pink, while ribbons adorn malls, public buses and hospital walls, to help raise awareness and contribute to the early detection of one of the most deadly diseases affecting women around the world. In the UAE, considerable strides have been made towards increasing the number of screenings, by the public sector and by civil society.
Women around the UAE are now familiar with the Pink Caravan, on which riders carry out a 10-day awareness drive throughout the Northern Emirates, encouraging women to visit fixed clinics and a mobile clinic for screening. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health dispatched mobile clinics throughout the months of May and June, to offer free screenings at shopping centres in the Northern Emirates. Similar campaigns undertaken by several public entities and civil institutions have attracted a growing number of women over the years.
As health authorities strive to reduce cancer fatalities in the UAE by 18 per cent before 2021, some insurance companies could do more in their contribution to this effort. Offering free screenings to every woman over 35 would be a good place to start.
But awareness is just the start. Since basic health insurance plans do not currently cover the costs of most cancer screenings and treatments, many women who cannot afford screening or the subsequent treatment should the diagnosis be confirmed are forced to seek affordable alternatives in other countries, as highlighted by The National.
Given this set of circumstances, the insurance companies and healthcare providers must make prevention and detection the most important part of their mission. It is imperative to catch and detect cancer, in all its forms, as early as possible to allow a complete set of options to those who are diagnosed.
The struggle cancer patients feel is both real and surreal. The physical pain and emotional strain are often exacerbated by the financial burden. Early detection can save lives. So let's get screening.
Follow The National's Opinion section on Twitter
Read more from Opinion