On the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness month which will be marked in October worldwide, the International Women’s Club organized for the second time in Belgrade, a campaign for education and increasing awareness about breast cancer. The main event was held today in the White Palace, in the presence and with the great support of TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine.

Their Royal Highnesses are very grateful to the International Women’s Club for contributing to this very important cause and joining the noble mission of showing support for everyone affected by breast cancer, as well as educating and increasing awareness of this disease that is affecting millions of women worldwide.

The educational event was held in the presence and support of His Excellency Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Serbia, Mr. Tomáš Kuchta, State Secretary in the Ministry of Health of Serbia, Prof. Dr Ferenc Vicko, and many other distinguished guests.

At the beginning of the event, HRH Crown Prince Alexander addressed the present people as the host and complimented them for contributing to an important cause, saying: “Each activity contributing to better awareness and a more effective fight against this disease deserves every praise. It is not said in vain that “health is the greatest wealth”, and we all must do what we can to preserve this wealth.” Dr Katarina Bajec, CEO of Acibadem Bel Medic, also addressed the attendees, as well as Mrs. Barbora Kuchtová, President of the International Women’s Club. After the address of the representative of the Ministry, Dr. Vicko, and Her Royal Highness, the presentation and panel discussion were held. Panelists were: Dr. Lana Ilić -Todorić, Radiologist, Prof. Cihan Uras, M.D. General surgery, Assoc. Prof. Erdem Güven, M.D. Reconstructive surgery, and Dr. Zoran Tomašević, Oncologist.

“Our joint goal is to provide unconditional support to all those who are battling breast cancer and to enlighten the path of awareness about this difficult disease, which unfortunately, touches the lives of millions of women across the globe. Recognizing that breast cancer stands as the most common malignant tumor among women worldwide, our commitment extends beyond the limits of the traditional Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October;  our commitment goes beyond the boundaries of time, making sure that throughout the entire year, we support this important cause.

Every one of us possesses the power to make a unique difference by dedicating ourselves to ensuring that each woman has access to education, early screenings, proper treatment, unwavering support, and, perhaps most importantly, hope. Prevention is of the highest significance because when breast cancer is detected early, on time, it can be treated effectively, with a high chance for a good outcome of the disease.

Early detection becomes the beacon of hope, capable of saving countless lives. Therefore, I appeal to all the ladies to embrace the responsibility for their own well-being and to set themselves on the journey of regular preventive check-ups; a journey that holds the promise of preserving both themselves and their health. I extend the same asking to all the men – husbands, fathers, sons – to stand as pillars of support for the women who are the most precious gifts of their lives, their wives, daughters, mothers, or cherished friends, and to encourage them to take these vital examinations.

As hard as the fight against this disease is, one can emerge victoriously. Only those who have encountered cancer know how difficult it is to endure the battle to the end – how many sacrifices, tears, and courage are needed. Only with adequate medical help and the support of their loved ones they can endure the battle, and overcome everything”, stated HRH Crown Princess Katherine.

Crown Princess also reminded about the numerous activities taken by her Foundation in Belgrade, together with Lifeline Humanitarian Organization abroad, which has offices in Chicago, New York, Toronto, London, and Athens, that all work under Her Royal Highness’s patronage, in raising awareness as well as providing medical equipment to Serbian hospitals to identify and treat the disease on time.

One of the most significant donations has been the mobile mammograph unit, which was donated to the Clinical Center Nis in 2009, thanks to the generosity of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and their donation of this $ 700,000 worth mobile unit. This was a historic milestone as it was the first unit of its kind in the Balkans, which was especially significant since it reached the most distant villages. Unfortunately, after more than 160,000 women throughout Serbia were examined on it, this unit could not work anymore. Crown Princess Katherine, together with friends who have recognized its importance, are now trying to provide a new unit that will continue this important mission.

According to the latest data from the Institute for the Public Health of Serbia “Milan Jovanovic Batut”, breast cancer is the leading malignant tumor among women in Serbia, and around the world. Also, breast cancer is one of the leading causes of premature death in the female population. Measured by years of lost life, breast cancer is the third leading cause of death in women aged 45 to 64. Oncologists constantly emphasize the importance of regular lifesaving mammography breast cancer screening, and between the two screenings, regular breast examinations by their doctor and regular self-examination.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held in October every year, aims to promote screening and prevention of the disease, which affects 2.3 million women worldwide. Known best for its pink theme color, the month features a number of campaigns and programs — conducted by groups ranging from breast cancer advocacy organizations to local community organizations to major companies — aimed at:

–       supporting people diagnosed with breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer;

–       educating people about breast cancer risk factors:

–       stressing the importance of regular screening.