- Title: Gazans battling breast cancer suffer doubly against illness, restrictions
- Date: 23rd October 2019
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (RECENT) (REUTERS) MOBILE BREAST CANCER CLINIC MOBILE CLINIC ARRIVING AT NEIGHBOURHOOD NURSES TALKING TO WOMAN ABOUT EARLY DETECTION DOCTOR, MOHAMMED ABU RAYA, WALKING PAST MOBILE BREAST CANCER CLINIC (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DOCTOR, MOHAMMED ABU RAYA, SAYING: "We are part of the Arab regional campaign, we have a mobile clinic under the slogan 'don't wait for the symptoms, get checked and reassured'. We send the messages to all areas in Gaza, the marginalised areas and fragile segments (of society), as well as areas that don't have clinics. We raise awareness and explain to the people what breast cancer is, how it can be prevented and how it can be treated." WOMAN GIVING SESSION ABOUT BREAST CANCER SIGN READING (Arabic): "Don't wait for the symptoms, get checked and reassured" PINK RIBBON AT SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CANCER PATIENT, HIBA SHIHAB, SAYING: "The first problem I faced was the travel, they refused to let me get out (of Gaza) many times. At the end, I complained to a human rights organisation, and the Israeli intelligence unit requested an interview with me. I went and I waited from the morning until 7:00 pm for a 10 minutes interview for reason that has nothing to do with me. If my neighbour or my brother or my brother-in-law are Hamas members, this is not my problem. Why should I be refused travel to get treatment abroad? Why should my treatment be delayed and why should my condition deteriorate? It's hard to get treatment here; it's a struggle to get the treatment." SIGN READING (Arabic): "Life" SHIHAB READING KORAN IN HER ROOM SHIHAB LOOKING AT BOOK WITH HER DAUGHTER SHIHAB WORKING IN KITCHEN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CANCER PATIENT, HIBA SHIHAB, SAYING: "Why do they put the patient through so much suffering? As a patient, I am not related to Fatah or Hamas or anything else. I want to get treatment and return home. Even if my husband is a leader in Hamas or Fatah or Islamic Jihad, I am have nothing to do with that as a patient. I want to go to get treatment and return home. I don't want anything else." CANCER SURVIVOR AND DIRECTOR OF AID AND HOPE ORGANISATION, IMAN SHANAN, IN HER OFFICE PINK RIBBON (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DIRECTOR OF AID AND HOPE ORGANISATION, IMAN SHANAN, SAYING: "Our problem in Gaza is the survival rate, we have the lowest rate in the world, not only regionally. The woman can find out that she has breast cancer early on but she doesn't have money to do the pathological test, which is not available for free. So, she goes from early detection to an advanced stage. And sometimes women start the treatment and then suddenly there is no medicine. We have problems with the survival rate not the infection rate."
- Embargoed: 6th November 2019 13:47
- Keywords: women battling breast cancer breast cancer in Gaza women's health Gaza women's health
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002B2BGC45
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Doctor Mohammed Abu Raya is on mission: to spread awareness on breast cancer screening in Gaza, where the struggle of women battling the disease is compounded by restrictions on movement.
A mobile clinic roams neighbourhoods across Gaza, reaching out to people in marginalised areas and fragile communities, Abu Raya said.
The goal of screening mammography is to detect tumours before they can be felt in a physical breast exam, catching cancer sooner when it's easier to treat.
Ideally, this should mean fewer women are diagnosed when tumours are bigger, rapidly growing, and harder to attack.
Gaza's health ministry said cancer is the main cause of death among women who cannot access adequate treatment, partly due to the ongoing Israeli-led blockade.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are not available in Gaza's hospitals and clinics, which has forced many women seeking breast cancer treatment to travel abroad or seek a permit from Israel to travel to a Jerusalem or West Bank hospital for proper treatment.
Breast cancer patient, Hiba Shihab, said getting a permit to access the healthcare abroad can be a stressful and unpredictable process.
The Head of Aid and Hope Organisation, Iman Shanan, said that 130 to 150 women are diagnosed with breast cancer monthly in Gaza.
According to Shanan, Gaza has the lowest breast cancer survival rate in the world, with factors such as poverty and shortage of medicine aggravating the conditions of many women fighting the disease.
Breast cancer is among the most common types of cancer globally, the World Health Organisation said. It is also the largest cause of death from cancer among women globally.
To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, several sites in Gaza including al-Hassina Mosque were illuminated with pink light to raise awareness about the disease.
(Production: Roleen Tafakji, Mohammed Shanna)
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