The illness constitutes 41 percent of all cancer cases among women in Lebanon, with one in every eight women being at risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, statistics show.
Organized under the patronage of the first Lebanese Lady Wafaa Michel Suleiman, and the Swiss global health-care company Hoffmann-La Roche, the 11th consecutive Cancer Awareness campaign was launched this month in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health and other health institutes.
The campaign raises the motto "Get A Mammogram and Take the Burden Off Your Chest."
It see seeks to encourage more women above the age of 40 to undergo mammography. Campaign organizers said the rate of response to the call has reached 55 percent.
Therese Abou Nasr, a Lebanese oncologist, noted that the Arab region needs continuous awareness campaigns, not seasonal ones, to ensure the early detection of breast cancer.
“We are still discovering new breast cancer cases in advanced phases, which is inacceptable,” Abou Nasr said.
“The whole family should encourage women to take the personal responsibility of her own healthcare, including the prevention of breast cancer, especially that any tumor in the breast in not an esthetic issue at all, but it is an indicator to the presence of a health problem, stressing that the advanced countries managed to screen 30 percent of breast cancer in early stages, which is a curable phase,” she added.
Official statistics have shown that continuous awareness campaigns in Lebanon lead to the detection of tumors in its early stages.
About 10 percent of the cases that go now for early checkups tend to discover tumors that are less than one centimeter in volume, compared to early patients in the past, who by the time they detect the caners, the tumor cells will be three centimeters in volume.
What characterizes the 2012 campaign is that many breast cancer survivors have decided to support it with their valuable testimonies, emphasizing the importance of early detection to optimize the chances of complete remission.