Breast cancer campaigners in Saudi Arabia to focus on genetic screening

The scope of the campaign extends to many regions of the Kingdom in conjunction with World Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (SPA)
Updated 03 October 2018

Breast cancer campaigners in Saudi Arabia to focus on genetic screening

  • The association is teaming up with 17 universities and educational institutes, 31 clubs and health centers, and 40 hospitals and laboratories between Riyadh and Al-Kharj
  • Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and Princess Haifa launched the campaign

RIYADH: Princess Haifa bint Faisal, chairwoman of Zahra Breast Cancer Association, said that in the future, a breast cancer campaign will focus on genetic screening as the association launched its 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in Riyadh.

The campaign will run throughout October. The association is teaming up with 17 universities and educational institutes, 31 clubs and health centers, and 40 hospitals and laboratories between Riyadh and Al-Kharj, the Eastern Province, western and southern areas, and more than 21 regions in Saudi Arabia. 

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and Princess Haifa launched the campaign in cooperation with several governmental and private sectors, at the Saudi Electricity Company Club.

Princess Haifa said the association will focus its efforts on examining patients through genetic screening to reduce cases of the disease being diagnosed at a late stage in an effort to cut mortality rates.

“The scope of the campaign extends to many regions of the Kingdom in conjunction with World Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“The campaign targets women in particular and society in general.”

Over the past 11 years, the association has reached more than 500,000 women in different regions of the Kingdom. 

At the launch event, several speakers shared their experiences of recovering from breast cancer. 

Samir Kurdy also talked about his wife’s inspirational story fighting the disease, which unfolded on Twitter under the hashtag #SuperDema. He said that his wife’s courageous example had given him and his young daughters strength. His wife died a month ago.

Pink Fingerprints

The Saudi Cancer Society has launched its “Pink Fingerprints” awareness campaign to combat breast cancer for a 12th consecutive year. 

The campaign, which will run throughout October through the Abdul Latif Jameel Center for Breast Cancer Early Detection, aims to increase early screening to help boost recovery rates.

The society’s chairman, Dr. Mohammed bin Ahmed Al-Kanhal, said that the campaign will use the latest tools for early detection, including mobile clinics supplied with the latest equipment.

Mobile clinics will tour different parts of the Kingdom to reach the highest number of people at home.

An interactive awareness event for the campaign will be held for two weeks from mid-October at the Kingdom’s Commercial Center. Those who take part in the campaign will stamp their fingerprints on a wall as a sign of their support for the campaign.


‘American Sharqawia’: US Consul General Rachna Korhonen bids Saudi Arabia farewell

Updated 09 July 2020

‘American Sharqawia’: US Consul General Rachna Korhonen bids Saudi Arabia farewell

  • "There’s some magic in the water of the desert," says Korhonen

JEDDAH: As she reaches the end of her second mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, US Consul General Rachna Korhonen will soon be heading home, taking memories to last a lifetime.
Known for her love for culture and the Arabic language and for her vast knowledge of the region, Korhonen became well known as a constant supporter of Saudi women and youth in the region, participating in numerous cultural and social events in the Eastern Province and across the Kingdom.
After two more weeks in the Kingdom, Korhonen will return to the US capital to serve as the executive director of the Bureau of Near East Affairs (NEA) and the Bureau of South Central Asian Affairs (SCA) at the US State Department which supports the posts in the region, including Saudi Arabia, thus continuing her connection with the Kingdom.
With 14 years of experience as a US diplomat, she served 3 years in Riyadh in 2010, and then came back to serve as the consul general in Dhahran in August 2017. “I would say Riyadh was the start of my relationship with Saudi Arabia, and Dhahran and the Eastern Province is the culmination of the relationship,” said Korhonen told Arab News on a video call. She almost feels herself Sharqawia, a resident of the Eastern Province, Sharqia.
“Ana Sharqawia (‘I am a Sharqawia). The measure of any place is the people, it’s not about the place, it’s really about the people.”
As consul general, her role was to build relations and promote the interests of her home in the country where she was posted. Korhonen went the extra mile, she joined in the region’s celebrations and understood its traditions and culture.


Recalling her time in the Eastern Province, she said: “I’ve been getting to know Sharqawis, the people who live and work here, who have made this their home in the years since Aramco started or were born in Al-Ahsa. I think anyone who comes to the Eastern Province falls in love,” she said.
“The biggest reason I’ve gotten to enjoy myself here is (because) it has quite a bit of America here. I think it’s difficult to realize how much America exists in Saudi Arabia until you come to the Eastern Province,” she added.
As the drilling for oil began in 1935 with the help of the California Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC), which later became Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s oil capital has been home to thousands of Americans over the past 85 years, who have had a major influence on the region.
“Aramco is definitely a reminder of home, and you put that in with the people, the hospitality, the normal way of being Saudi which is to welcome your guests no matter who they are. You put those things together, you get the best of the United States and you get the best of Saudi Arabia.”
A native of New Jersey and big baseball fan, her love for the game didn’t stop her from supporting the Al-Ettifaq Football Club in Dammam, attending matches and singing their anthem.
Her trips to Al-Ahsa, a place she calls the most beautiful place in the Kingdom, allowed her to discover the region’s vast experiences.
Her appreciation of Al-Ahsa goes deep. Both the scenery and the hospitality of the people make it her favorite city — she even took Ambassador John Abizaid on a trip there in February.
“As you drive towards Al-Ahsa, you can see the sand changing color, from a bright yellow to a reddish color,” she said. “You start seeing the desert turning green, which is amazing to me. I’m a mountain and forest type of person and I can tell you that I now like the desert too, it’s beautiful.”
The uniqueness of Al-Ahsa called out to Korhonen and she recalls her first visit to the region in 2017. “The history, the people, the food, the culture, is very different from any place I’ve been to in Saudi Arabia, Hasawis (people of Al-Ahsa) are lovely. I think there’s some magic in the water of the desert,” she said.
Korhonen developed an interest in regional cultural events, visiting local markets picking out sheep for Eid, learning about the Saudi love for falconry and participating in the traditional celebratory dance of Al-Arda. She even has a Diwaniya, a parlor where guests are received, at her home.

When she returned to the Kingdom in 2017, Korhonen noticed the transformation of the Kingdom, noting that Vision 2030 has been the instigator for this noticeable change.
“The changes have been tremendous, I think Vision2030 is really going to really bring Saudi Arabia onto the world stage. I think some parts are already there. In the energy sector, Saudi Arabia has always been a leader,” she said. “I’m betting you right now that you’re going to see Saudi women, you’re going to see Saudi men, you’re going to see Saudi kids, Saudi art, culture and music, the traditional Saudi things, all starting to show up on the world stage.”
As the Kingdom heads towards diversifying its economy, Korhonen anticipates that the world will begin seeing more Saudi entrepreneurs with innovative ventures, as education is key. She noted that with the continuous flow of Saudi students on scholarships in the US, their return to the Kingdom will help bring forth a new business-like mindset with partnerships between the two countries that will help the Kingdom’s economy to flourish.
“It’s coming,” she noted. “I’ve seen some of the (US) businesses here, but I haven’t seen enough yet and I’d like to see more of that in the next 2-5 years, because Vision 2030 will be a success if we can get entrepreneurs to start businesses and hire more Saudis,” she added. “That to me is the key and that is what you should be bringing back from the US.”
As the end of her mission draws near, it's safe to say that we'll be seeing Korhonen back in the Kingdom in the near future.
“I’ll honestly come back because of the people, because of the friendships I’ve made here.”