Speaker Nikolla, Minister Manastirliu, Deputy Mayor Ruseti, Ms. McCluney, Ms. Kozma, Director Godaj, distinguished guests, courageous breast cancer survivors, and friends, it’s wonderful to be with you today!
I was able to participate in the march last year in Elbasan and it is great to do it again this year here in Tirana. And I am very proud that this is the 13th consecutive year that the U.S. Embassy in Tirana has participated in this, in tandem with YWCA Albania to support the Breast Cancer Walk. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we honor the strength of those who have survived this terrible disease and those who continue to fight it. And we remember those who are no longer with us. We educate the women and girls around us on how to detect cancer early and lead healthy lives, and that’s what this month is about.
The United States is very proud to stand with you in support of women’s empowerment, including supporting women’s health around the world.
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer globally. Here in Albania, it afflicts 700 women and girls every year, and a third of them die.
This is a disease that doesn’t care how rich you are, doesn’t care where you live, it doesn’t care whether you are happy or sad, it happens to all of us, it can happen to all of us.
It’s a disease that mostly afflicts women but guess what, men can also get breast cancer.
So it is a good time to think about the tools that we have available to us, beginning with self-education but also health services. And in that respect, early detection is key. Because the five-year survival rate when breast cancer is detected early, is 99 percent.
So I hope I hope all of us will get our mammogram! It’s not pleasant but you should do it! And I hope that all of us encourage our friends, our mothers, our sisters, our aunts, our grandmothers, our daughters to get a mammogram.
And if I can’t convince you, I hope my friend here Aina can convince you!
So, with the same energy and expertise that has made COVID-19 possible, the fight against Breast Cancer should be fought!
And in the same spirit I would like to thank all the volunteers, all of you who are here today, all the activists and of course, our health professionals.
And now, I have the pleasure of presenting an award to Ms. Marisa Menga. This is for your valuable contribution to the cause of the fight against the breast cancer.