Saudi Arabia: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This just may be the year that Saudi Arabia hits the pink ball out of the park.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  There are usually some events each year in the Kingdom which attempt to raise awareness about breast cancer.  Last year was the World’s largest pink ribbon chain.

This year what I am seeing as a significance and much needed difference in spreading awareness and education about breast cancer is the participation of MEN!  Breast cancer is not a disease that impacts only the woman.  The whole family is involved and to see that there are campaigns with the participation of men in the conservative Kingdom is major.

First of all, Imans (yes, you did read that correctly) have been requested to address breast cancer in their weekly Friday prayers. Breast cancer accounts for 18 per cent of the cancers of women in the Kingdom.

Additionally there is a contest which encourages individuals to post their own breast cancer awareness video on youtube.  Saudis young and old, male and female, have the opportunity to speak their own message to the masses.



I remain a breast cancer warrior. In 2010 my breast cancer was restaged as a stage IV which means it is not curable but can be treated and maintained.  In my case my cancer spread from the breast into my bones.  As a result I’ve received chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  I am receiving chemotherapy as of this writing.  It’s been a roller coaster this time.  My body does not respond as I would like it to.  This time I am supposed to receive weekly chemotherapy (intravenously) for three consecutive weeks and then one week off.  Right now I’ve missed three complete weeks of chemo due to low white blood cells and low platelet counts.  Since my body is too weak for chemo I receive a series of injections aimed at increasing my white blood cells.  I will know later on this week if I’ll be able to have chemo.  The aim this time is for me to receive chemotherapy treatments through October and maybe a few in November.  After that, my doctor hopes I’ll be in remission for at least a year before needing further treatment.  Yes, that is now the routine of my life.  As a stage IV cancer patient it becomes a routine of periodic chemo, radiation and maybe even a clinical trial.  It is what I have to do to buy time so I can see my grandsons grow up.

I’m not sad or angry that I have this disease.  I have wonderful family and friends who are always there to support me.  They give me needed encouragement if I’m ever down.  I learned to adapt to a “new normal.”


21 Responses

  1. Good to see.

  2. Wow what an amazing struggle you are going through.i hope that the difficulties ease up soon so u can start feeling better inshallah.
    Good to know Saudi is becoming more aware of this and great to hear imams doing their part to let the community know. Thanks for this post!

  3. I hope insha allah you will be ok. Thanks for blogging about KSA.

  4. Carol, are you aware of any FREE screenings in Riyadh? I have been googling ferociously with no luck. Or a recommendation?
    Thank you!

  5. Carol, you are some woman! What determination and courage. I salute you. Jay

  6. @Robin – contact the Zahra Breast Cancer Association in Riyadh. The web site is

    @Jay – My sincere thanks.

  7. inshAllah you will be better soon. Your story would be encouraging to those women whom are suffering from…. And you are doing your job very well by spreading awareness.

    Yeah we men also should take part 🙂

  8. Thanks, Gladiator.

    Fingers are crossed that I’ll be able to have chemo tomorrow.

  9. Carol…

    I pray that soon there might be a better solution for you. When AIDS came out it was a death sentence and gradually treatments,drugs and methods improved to the point where people live a pretty stable life. This is such a pervasive disease that any advancement can help millions. Blessings go out to you.

    I wish it was in English and I liked the guy in the pink shirt!!

  10. My grandmother and mother had breast cancer..which means I have to keep an even more vigilant eye on myself. I’ve been having mammograms and breast exams done yearly for several years now even though I haven’t hit the “recommended” age for the mammograms themselves. It’s treatable if caught early enough…I plan to catch it (fingers crossed) if it does rear its ugly head in my direction.

    My little sister has no fears what so ever and has decided she will “check into it” when she hits the magic age of recommendation when your supposedly more at risk. I keep telling her, 35 year olds get breast cancer all the time (even younger obviously)…she has decided to do the ostrich thing until then. What to do? People can be stubborn with potential illness.

    *says the one who delayed going to the dentist due to a very deep seated fear bahraini dentists instilled in her…which resulted in a trip to the emergency room and over $3400 worth or surgery…point taken. Lesson learned. Regularly scheduled dental appts are in the making* 😉

  11. For those that are in the USA or know of and have thought of giving to Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Org. They give a great deal of money to Planned Parent hood. For those outside of the USA this is a place where they kill babies. Becareful to whom you give money to. That they will do with the money what they said they would. I don’t believe you save womens lives by taking the next generation of women in the preborn state. Investigate the charities you give too.

  12. ” this is a place where they kill babies.”

    This is the place where they help prevent unwanted pregnancies by making birth control available to anyone…as well as much needed checkups and follow up care for women who generally cannot afford it.

    And it is a place where women who feel they are not capable of carrying a pregnancy to term, either financially, mentally, or physically…can make the decision that is best for them.

    Yes…investigate those charities…some are worth their weight in gold.

  13. thanks for the link Lynn…

    when my mom was pregnant with me she took a drug that came to be known years later to cause a higher incidence than normal of cervical cancer in the female babies born to these moms.

    When I got to college I had no money and no insurance. Planned Parenthood was there to provide breast exams and gynecological services including a yearly pap smear for me so that I could keep a close watch on the possibility that I might develop cervical cancer. Thank god it was never an issue but I am so grateful that I had PP available to help me. They also work hard to provide not only contraception for women to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy, but education as to abstinence, disease, health for the pregnant woman and her baby. They have a well rounded program. They TRY to get women to prevent pregnancies before it comes to a far more radical decision.

  14. BTW…the drug my mom took was not an illegal drug. It was given to women to prevent premature birth.

  15. Peter Karmanos is a pretty impressive man and he seems to be very dedicated to helping people stay healthy. My husband was very impressed with the work-out facilities (and separate massage therapy room) that he has for his employees at Compuware in Detroit.

  16. Hmmm, my auncle paid government fees of visa processing…. Paid them per month basis.

    In saudi arabia there is another business for saudis and non saudis. Its visa trading business. Government charge only 2500-3000 ryals for a laborer visa. But it would increase up to 25OO level if the visa is an Yemen visa or A Bangladeshi visa. A visa would trade at least 2-3 times. It is the sponsor who will be benefited in two was. He would sale a visa at 2-3 times higher than his “investment” and when the “laborer” will be arrived to WORK under his sponsorship he would pay him a minimum salary or he would allow him to work out side for a monthly fee and when it is time to renew his Iqama sponsor would charge an additional fee if his laborer is a “independent” worker.

    This is the main resion behind up rising rate of crime in foreign workers. If a man pay 6000- 7000 USD for a entry visa as a laborer and if he found that his salary is only 10-20 USD ( yes, you read that right) what would he do? While most of south asian workers come here on debt.
    Though Indian visas are cheaper than Yemeni, Pakistani, Bangladeshi visa..
    But I was lucky, I paid the official fees only and the credit goes to my auncle

  17. sorry…. Dont know what went wrong the above comment was not for this post! Carol, would you please remove the above comment… Its embrassening :|…. Once again… sorry

  18. The main job that Planned Parenthood does is to terminate pregnacies. Yes they do follow up afterwards. They do not do mammagrams so why is SGK giving them money? Investigate, investigate, investigate. If you can live with your money going to the termination of life either male or female then by all means give to SGK. I am just saying NOT ME.

  19. I guess you didn’t read the link I gave or you would have seen this:

    ‘And while Komen Affiliates provide funds to pay for screening, education and treatment programs in
    dozens of communities, in some areas, the only place that poor, uninsured or under-insured women can
    receive these services are through programs run by Planned Parenthood.
    These facilities serve rural women, poor women, Native American women, women of color, and the unand under-insured. As part of our financial arrangements, we monitor our grantees twice a year to be sure
    they are spending the money in line with our agreements, and we are assured that Planned Parenthood
    uses these funds only for breast health education, screening and treatment programs.’

  20. @blooming in the sand,

    It is immaterial if planned parenthood performs abortions or not, the money provided by the komen foundtion DOES NOT go towards providing abortions, It is used towards papsmears, mamograms and many other life saving early detection needs of many many women.

    There are many organizations that provide more than 1 service , should we boycott them all ? can we? As a docyor the hospital i work in provides a lot of services, controverial and against the beliefs of many yet people come there and we work there, what makes you think all is hunky dory in a traditional hispital setting …

    I know for a fact how much planned parenthood does towards cancer screening and i would never never dispute that or do anything to justify a drying up of their revenue. You may personally think abortion is bad there are plenty of people in the world who don’t think so, it is a CHOICE – FREE choice, you don’t have to support planne dparenthood but there ar eplenty of people who have no choice by to go there if they need cancer screening even though they may not agree with abortion, or would you rather they boycott the place and take their chances with cancer..

    All i’m saying CHOICE goes both ways and sometimes life is not a choice .

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