First Lady Pushes Saudis on Breast Cancer Awareness

Stigma prevents many women from seeking treatment for the disease
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2007 2:38 PM CDT
U.S. first lady Laura Bush checks out a head scarf presented to her by Saudi Dr. Samia al-Amoudi, left, during participation in a "Breaking the Silence" coffee with a Cancer Survivors Group, Wednesday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Laura Bush today swept into a country where breast cancer is such a taboo that it is often not prevented, treated, or publicly admitted—a high-profile woman trumpeting a pink-ribbon message where 70% of cases aren't reported until late stages. Though excellent care exists, many ignore "that disease" for fears ranging from dealing with male doctors to no one wanting to marry a patient's daughter.

"Her trip will make people ask, 'Why is she here? Is it that serious in this country?'" said a gynecologist diagnosed with the disease. Bush met with Saudi survivors of the disease who presented her with a black headscarf, decorated with pink ribbons.