In celebration of the 14th National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, the Ministry of Public Health, with the support of Mrs. Lama Tammam Salam, organized Lebanon’s first breast cancer forum at the Grand Serail. The campaign titled ‘She remembers everything but might forget the mammography…Remind her every year’ was launched in collaboration with Roche Lebanon SARL and with the support of the Lebanese Order of Physicians, Order of Pharmacists, Order of Nurses, Order of Midwives, syndicate of hospitals, other scientific societies and the National Breast Cancer Committee.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the families who have battled the disease, the Grand Serail was tinted in pink encouraging women to conduct the yearly mammography. The forum, moderated by Mr. Wissam Breidy, emphasized on the important role of men in caring for the women they love while encouraging them to be active participants in the fight against breast cancer. Participants in the forum included Mrs. Lama Salam, Minister Wael Abou Faour, Dr. Walid Ammar, Dr. Salim Adib, Prof. Naji El Saghir, Dr. Imad Ghosein, Dr. Mirna Doumit, Mrs. Olfat Berro and Liliane Andraous.
“I am backing the National Awareness Campaign for Breast Cancer being a firm believer that the health of a society is an essential pillar that needs to be elevated to be a national cause,” said Lama Salam. “I address every Lebanese woman and I ask her to put her fears aside and not neglect her health. She needs to remember self-examination and the mammography once a year after the age of 40, as her disease will not only affect her, but it will also impact her family. I also ask of every man to be aware of the huge responsibility of urging his wife, his mother, and his daughter to early detection. You are to support and encourage the women in your lives, lifting their morale and helping them to fight the disease and conduct a normal life.”
In continuation of last year’s campaign message of consistently reminding our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends to prioritize their own health by getting their regular checkups and mammograms, there is always more we can do to help fight this disease. Whether affected by the disease directly, or anxious about our families health, the fight against breast cancer is relevant to everyone, and every individual can play an important role in tackling this challenge.
HE Minister of Public Health Wael Abou Faour also commented: “We consider the Breast Cancer Early Detection Program to be of major importance not only from a medical perspective, but also from an economic one as it is in line with expenditure rationalization and control programs. The early detection of diseases can contribute to a reduction in the cases of expensive hospitalization, which in turn constitutes an essential base to build future health policies that will focus on early detection and large awareness campaigns.”
Olfat Berro, Country Manager for Roche Lebanon, expressed her delight at being part of this year’s original initiative that will play a pivotal role in raising awareness and knowledge about breast cancer, "as a woman, I am conscious the prevention of this disease can be improved through the support of husbands, friends, and family. We women and mothers have the capacity to remember the smallest detail related to the care of our loved ones, so much so that we might forget to care for ourselves. Aware of this, Roche is renewing its dedication to spread the word and educate people about breast cancer because early screening and detection saves lives”.
The nation-wide awareness campaign is set to run for three months enabling women to gain access to discounted mammography exams which will remain available till end of December 2015. Participating private hospitals and medical centers across Lebanon will reduce their mammography fees to L.L. 40,000 whilst government hospitals will offer free mammograms during the entire phase of the campaign.
To expand the outreach of the core message to a wider target audience and impact more lives, the national committee of experts announced that the annual national program will involve more public lectures with municipalities and women NGOs that will be organized by the medical societies and the cancer patient support groups.