Qatar University’s College of Pharmacy (QU-CPH) and Qatar Pharmacy Undergraduate Society (QPhUS) conducted a virtual breast cancer awareness campaign entitled: ‘Move Forward’ via the WebEx platform on Wednesday. Since October is globally recognised as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, pharmacy students raised awareness about the disease by educating the public via social media where information was provided on the disease, risk factors, signs and symptoms, and the importance of early detection.
A quiz was included on social media to assess the public’s knowledge on breast cancer including its epidemiology globally and in Qatar, risk factors, signs and symptoms, and the importance of early detection. The welcoming remarks were delivered by QU-CPH associate dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Pharmacy Dr Maguy El Hajj followed by by QPhUS president Hend al-Naimi.
QU-CPH dean Dr Mohammed Diab commented: “The month of October sheds the light on and spreads awareness for a crucial cause. In line with Qatar University’s mission of contributing actively to the needs of the society, raising awareness for such a cause plays its inspirational and essential role. We highly encourage our students to take part of it, spread awareness and celebrate the heroes who have faced the diagnosis heads-on.”
Dr Maguy commented: “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the world and early detection is the key to control it. Pharmacists are often the first point of contact with the community and are in a great position to educate the public about the importance of screening for breast cancer. I am very happy to see this important outreach event organised by our pharmacy students and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge their efforts in organising this event especially under the unusual circumstances of Covid-19 pandemic.”
Al-Naimi added: “As future pharmacists one of our roles is to educate and raise awareness. Although Covid-19 hampered the campaigns and outreach activities that we used to do in our association but also it is a powerful reminder that we are all in this together and choice, actions and awareness have a powerful role to protect those who are vulnerable.
“The ‘Move Forward’ campaign started on QPhUS social media to raise awareness about breast cancer, one of the biggest activities that we did is the virtual event. This event is truly a tool to spread hope and be a force for good to support all women around the world fighting breast cancer.”
The event included a movie screening on the story of a cancer survivor. The movie was directed and introduced by Sara Shadid, a media researcher in the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the director of ‘Move Forward’ movie. She commented: “Sandee’s story had a huge impact on me personally, and everyone who knew her story took a dose of positivity and great inspiration to the power of will and determination. “I made my first documentary film ‘Move Forward’ about the breast cancer survivor Sandee Thompson and me believe that we need to share the inspirational and motivational stories for everyone!”
The movie screening was followed up by a question and answer session. A two-time breast cancer survivor, Sandee Thompson, who is the co-ordinator of English as a Foreign Language department at the College of North Atlantic - Qatar, commented: “Well it would have to be from our dragon boat team’s sentiment ... the Doha Wireless Warriors ... ‘We paddle for life; we paddle for health and we paddle for community and cancer awareness... we don’t care about winning races... we have already won the race by being alive to tell our stories and to paddle with one another. Live your life as large as possible. That is your legacy.... that is what makes the difficult times worthwhile... knowing you loved your life.”
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