Women, power and cancer:

A Lancet Commission

Eman Shannan

Eman Shannan_photo.jpg


Eman Shannan is a breast cancer survivor and, a long-serving National and regional fighter against breast cancer, and a prominent advocate for women's health rights.
In the socially conservative Gaza Palestine, discussion of breast cancer had been nearly non-existent due to social stigma before 12 years.

Luckily, the tide has significantly started to change and Palestinian women are learning more about the prevalence of breast cancer. So, we turned Gaza to pink in honor of ‘Pink October for the first time in 2012 with the first campaign in Palestine (Gaza in pink).

Guinness World Book record: I led Aid and Hope to get a Guinness World
Book Record in the longest pink ribbon in 2012

Impact Through Change and Social Transformation- Milestone Achievements:

1- I was the first Palestinian woman who broke the silence... by openly
sharing her personal battle with breast cancer breaking the silence to

speak about its impact.
2- Having been a victim of social stigmatization, has led me to be a breast cancer survivor activist in this field and challenged the fear of dying from cancer.

3- Adopted the cases of the eight women with cancer who couldn’t leave for treatment abroad for security reasons, has made persistent and long efforts to provide them with doses of "Herceptin" with personal efforts in an attempt to save their lives from death after the official health institution abandoned them and they lived.

4- I led a lobbying affiliation with many relevant institutions, legal persons, human rights organizations, and journalists to form a pressure force on funders to include treatment for cancer patients as a funding priority, as well as a pressure campaign on those concerned to give priority to patients' transfers and help them get treatment.

5- I led a media campaign through an Israeli newspaper are against preventing women with cancer from receiving treatment abroad through the Erez crossing and there have been tangible successes in all campaigns that have resulted in great progress.

6- Continuous awareness and promotion’ to restore and raise confidence for women with cancer and whose husbands abandoned them due to having breasts mastectomy, by providing psychological and recreational therapy.

7- Opening new channels with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and other grassroots stakeholders to encourage husbands in the Friday sermon To be more open-minded and accommodative to the needs of wives whose
breasts were removed.

8- Representing Palestinian women cancer survivors in international and Arab forums, to present the experience of Palestinian women in resisting blockade, procedures, treatment, and thus surviving cancer

The main advocacy campaign (saving women with cancer lives)

1- In 2016 have launched a Hashtag called #why-are-we-banned, which had a huge impact and was greatly supported, yet the problem is still continuous.

2- We demonstrated in the streets and went on a hunger strike asking for medicalizations and to travel for the treatments and in January 2017 the Israeli media talked about Gaza humanitarian issues which was due to our actions and advocacy for our right to move and treatments.

4- In March 2017 I used the opportunity of meeting his excellency Mr., Jason Greenblatt in the American House in Ramallah to raise the voice about women with cancer in Gaza who are waiting for death because of political issues and he helped us in finding solutions to save women with cancer lives.

Aid and Hope Program for Cancer Patients Care (AHP) Founder and General Manager: October 2009 until now, for Aid and Hope Program for cancer patients care –Gaza Palestine.

The idea behind establishing the Aid and hope Program for cancer patient care started 10 years ago when some of the founders suffered from cancer or one of their relatives which made the idea an urgent issue. Some individual people seemed to help the poor cancer patients through the assistance of friends and everyone seemed to think about establishing an incubator to support and help cancer patients and their families.