First Lady Laura Bush visited Saudi Arabia yesterday as part of her tour of the Middle East to promote breast cancer awareness. Mrs. Bush arrived in the Kingdom from the United Arab Emirates, and will continue her tour with visits to Kuwait and Jordan.
Upon arriving in Riyadh, Mrs. Bush toured the Abdullatif Cancer Screening Center, Saudi Arabia’s first-ever community cancer screening center.
The First Lady then delivered the keynote speaker at the launch of the US-Saudi Arabia Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research at Riyadh’s King Fahd Medical City. The partnership, the first of its kind between Saudi Arabia and the US, is expected to contribute positively to the treatment of breast cancer in the Kingdom.
“Over the next quarter-century, an estimated 25 million women around the world will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” Mrs. Bush said in her remarks. “Breast cancer does not respect national boundaries, which is why people from every country must share their knowledge, resources and experience to protect women from this disease.”
In the evening, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz met with Mrs. Bush at the royal palace in Jeddah to discuss the partnership’s work to overcome breast cancer. The meeting was also attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of State and Cabinet Member Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd, Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel A. Al-Jubeir, and US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ford Fraker.
In addition to her talks with King Abdullah, the First Lady met with Saudi breast cancer survivors in Jeddah and discussed their decision to speak openly about the disease.
Mrs. Bush departed the Kingdom for Kuwait today. She was seen off at the airport in Jeddah by Governor of Jeddah Province Prince Mishaal bin Majid and Ambassador Al-Jubeir.
In related news, Princess Loulwa Al-Faisal highlighted the importance of the breast cancer center in Riyadh and noted that the disease is the number one killer of women in the Kingdom. Princess Loulwa made the remarks in an interview with ABC “Good Morning America” anchor and breast cancer survivor Robin Roberts.
“Our problem is mainly not that women don’t know about it, but they are just too shy to do the [mammography] examination or too scared to find out that they do have cancer. So they delay their visits, and by the time they do the checkups, it’s too late,” Princess Loulwa said in the interview, her first ever on American TV.