Feature: Egyptian women rock out Zumba to beat breast cancer

May 10, 2016 5:28 am 

By Marwa Yahya

CAIRO, May 9 (PNA/Xinhua) — Around 1,000 Egyptian women of different ages and from different cultural and social backgrounds rolled their sleeves up to burn calories for a noble cause.

Aiming to raise awareness and empower women fighting breast cancer, the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt (BCFE) held a fitness-fundraising event, titled "Zumba Pink Party for Egyptian Daughters," at Cairo on Saturday.

"Our main goal is to encourage the girls to practice sports to prevent breast cancer," said Hanan Omar, media representative with the BCFE.

Zumba, a dance fitness program involving dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music, was highlighted at Saturday's party.

Ladies in plain pink T-shirts decorated with pink ribbon, the international symbol of breast cancer awareness, were following international Zumba instructors' energetic steps to Latin music.

"Zumba is a tempo dance which burns calories in short time, strengthens heart muscles, and helps in raising high the morale of the patients," said Emily Lavander, a Zumba instructor from the United States.

"It is not just about dancing and fun, Zumba party is also an entertaining way to raise women's attention on breast cancer awareness," Omar told Xinhua.

During the party, a video on women who recovered from breast cancer was screened, featuring their fights against the disease.

According to the statistics of BCFE, breast cancer represents 29 percent of women's cancer cases in the world and 37.5 percent of women's cancer cases in Egypt.

Egyptians do not prefer moving or practicing sports, which might serve as a factor in the high breast cancer rate here, Omar said.

"Most of Egyptian women do not believe that cancer could be treated, so they are reluctant to have a breast exam in the first place," said Omar, calling for early cancer diagnosis to help treat the disease.

Women above forty should get mammography x-rays once a year, while under that age women should get periodic tests via self-examination, the BCFE official added.

Eman al-Aasy, a 44-year-old breast cancer patient, said that after she had discovered the disease three years ago, she has been going to the BCFE activities regularly, as these activities get her out of the gloomy atmosphere and fill her with positive energy.

"It was my fault that I dealt with the problem with negligence at the beginning," al-Asay said, calling for girls to conduct self-examination every month to avoid such painful experience.

Speaking to the already diagnosed women, she said "Don't be freak, you are as normal as any women, and always keep your morale high to overcome the problem."

"Zumba improves the psychological well-being, and practicing physical activities is essential to increase energy and decrease cancer related-fatigue," said Zyban Aly, another breast cancer patient at the party.

She also stressed the importance of early diagnoses as she had to remove her whole left breast due to late diagnose.

"Breast cancer is not the end of world, we have to live, dance and participate in awareness activities," Aly said. (PNA/Xinhua)

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