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Saudi businesses think pink to highlight breast cancer risks in women, men

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Female cyclists in Jeddah ride along Jeddah’s waterfront to kick-start an awareness campaign about breast cancer. 

RIYADH: Although breast cancer has long been known as one of the greatest health risks for women, with incidence rates of up to 30 per cent in Saudi Arabia, studies suggest that men can also fall victim to the disease.

The findings may come as shock to many as people do not realize that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer.

Though cases of breast cancer are rare in men, the illness follows the same path as in women, with cells in the breast growing abnormally, dividing rapidly and then spreading to lymph nodes and other parts of the body, often with devastating consequences.

"Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it does occur in men as well, though rarely. But awareness of the possibility is important. Since there is no screening for breast cancer in men, it is usually detected at a later stage when the lymph nodes are involved," Arab News quoted Dr Osama Halaweh, a haematologist and medical oncologist at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare as saying.

Dr Amer Mahmood, associate professor and molecular biologist at the College of Medicine in King Saud University, said that early diagnosis dramatically improves the chances of a cure. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the breast tissue. Other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, also may be recommended.

While the exact cause of breast cancer in men is not known, several factors increase the likelihood of developing the disease, he said.

The risks of the disease to both women and men are being highlighted during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is observed every October as part of an international health campaign.

Whether offering a free checkup or a unique October product, Saudi firms have always been at the forefront of the month-long pink link push in the Kingdom.

Joining the campaign, major buildings in Riyadh have been illuminated in pink every night, while other cities across the Kingdom have also taken part in activities to raise awareness.

As per a report by The Gulf News, Jeddah-based Ward and Balloon has filled its shop window display with pink flowers and has been offering discounts on everything it sells that is pink to support the cause.

Shaimaa Waleed, owner and founder of Jeddah-based Woow ice cream shop, has created a special edition of pink ice cream to mark the occasion.

She said: "I learned that one-out-of-eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and I wanted to remind women that they need to get checked as part of the awareness campaign for early detection.

Meanwhile, thirty female cyclists on Wednesday roamed the streets of Jeddah dressed in pink to raise awareness on breast cancer and the importance of understanding the symptoms and treatment, breaking the stigma, and supporting survivors.

The initiative was organized by the Al-Murjan investment group in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Health and the Brave Cyclist club.

The Saudi government and private sector also will launch a series of initiatives, including educational exhibitions, lectures, mall drives, sports activities and mammogram screenings to promote awareness of the disease.

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TAGS:Breast cancer awareness Saudi Arabia Updates saudi arabia breast cancer campaigns 
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