Posted on October 21, 2017

‘Screen for Life’, the National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening Program led by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and supported by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), has conducted over 6,000 breast screenings since the program was launched in  2016. The program, which is conducted under Qatar’s National Cancer Program, represents a shift towards preventive and community-based care and mainly targets women aged 45 to 69.

HMC and PHCC partnership 2 [qatarisbooming.com].jpgAccording to Dr. Amal Al Obaidly, Deputy Chair and Senior Consultant in Radiology at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), the program encourages women with no symptoms to receive breast cancer screening through mammography, which is generally considered safe, quick, and relatively painless. She said early detection of breast cancer vastly increases survival rates. “The Breast and Bowel Screening Program is a life-saving initiative that aims to promote education, awareness and early detection of breast and bowel cancer in Qatar. Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage before symptoms appear. By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown and spread. Early diagnosis and treatment of breast tumors significantly improve survival rates,” said Dr. Al Obaidly.

She added that if something suspicious is found during the initial screening, patients are referred to HMC for additional tests. HMC and PHCC have worked together to develop a process that facilitates early detection and diagnosis and treatment, ensuring patients feel supported. At NCCCR, patients undergo more extensive screening, including an ultrasound or biopsy. Dedicated breast and bowel screening centers have been opened at PHCC’s in Al Wakra, Leabaib, Rawdat, and Al Khail, and a Mobile Mammogram Screening Unit regularly visits the other centers. To book a screening appointment the public should call one of the centers or ask to be referred by their primary health care physician.

The National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening Program is essential to reducing the incidence of breast cancer in Qatar by providing fast, high-quality services that help in the early detection of breast tumors and the development of appropriate treatment plans. Dr. Al Obaidly says that women aged 45 and above are encouraged to be screened for breast cancer. She says women should be observant for any persistent lumps in the breast or armpit, changes in the shape or size of their breasts, and breast skin changes, such as dimpling, puckering, redness, increased warmth, thickening, or itching. She also advised that nipple changes, such as sudden inversion, discharge, or scaling may be a warning sign of breast cancer.

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