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The effort to educate women about breast cancer is truly ground breaking in the Middle East because theres definitely a stigma about the disease here. Many women are embarrassed to even mention breast cancer and they're slow to seek a doctor's help. By shedding light on this epidemic, Mrs. Bushs visit helped Middle Eastern women understand the importance of early detection and treatment.
As you may recall, Mrs. Bush highlighted the U.S - Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research during her 2007 trip to four countries in the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan). Facilitated by the Department of State with the UAE, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, the program is helping confront the challenge of breast cancer. While heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in our country (and an important part of Mrs. Bush's healthcare advocacy efforts), breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women in the Middle East.
During various stops throughout our trip, it's been great to see how the news of her breast cancer advocacy spread throughout the Region. In many meetings, men and women have taken a moment to tell the President and his team how much they appreciate Mrs. Bush's efforts. For example, last night at a dinner hosted by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, two of the guests told Ambassador Brinker (Chief of Protocol and the founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation) how important Mrs. Bush's trip was in their communities. And when the President participated in a meeting today with breast cancer survivors and awareness advocates, we heard another remarkable story from Dr. Samia Al-Amoudi, a brave woman who diagnosed her own breast cancer and is now undergoing treatment.
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Next month, from February 23rd - 26th, Dr. Al-Amoudi will participate in a four-city breast cancer advocacy and awareness training tour supported by the Saudi Cancer Society (SCS), the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research. Women like Dr. Al-Amoudi are making a difference in this global fight - and I'm proud that America is helping them.
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