Augusta-Victoria-Hospital raises awareness for breast cancer
(LWI) - Pink light draws attention to a widespread disease. The Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem marks “Pink October”, a month dedicated to breast cancer awareness. The hospital, run by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), specializes in oncology treatment for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. One in eight women worldwide is diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. For women in Palestine, breast cancer is still the most common cause of cancer-related death.
Prevention through community outreach
“There are several reasons, why women in Palestine are commonly diagnosed in advanced stages of the disease,” says LWF Country Representative Sieglinde Weinbrenner. “For one, there is no established national screening program for breast cancer. Maybe women are also more reluctant to get screened because for fear of the disease”.
Over the past two decades, AVH has established a community outreach program with a mobile breast cancer and diabetes screening unit. The “Pink bus” moves mainly in marginalized areas throughout in the West Bank and offers free mammography screenings, awareness sessions and self-exam workshops to women. In 2020, the bus was outfitted with new, state-of-the art digital equipment.
8,000 women benefit from the service every year. About 1,000 abnormalities are discovered. A nurse follows up with each patient. In 2020, twenty women started treatment for breast cancer that was discovered in early stages through the mobile unit. The screening campaigns also continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.