Posted on May 31, 2017

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) will next week join the international cancer community in recognizing National Cancer Survivors Day, raising awareness of the disease and demonstrating that life after a cancer diagnosis can be inspiring. National Cancer Survivors Day is 4 June and honors those who have overcome the disease. The day also provides an opportunity to dispel the misconception that cancer is a death sentence.

According to the Qatar National Cancer Registry at the Ministry of Public Health, cancer accounts for about 11.6 percent of all deaths in the country – a figure which is expected to grow as the population ages. However, experts contend that earlier diagnosis and intervention, due in part to awareness campaigns and the introduction of national screening services for breast and bowel cancers, is positively impacting cancer survival rates in the country.

The most common cancers diagnosed in Qatar are breast, bone marrow, colon, skin, and prostate. Ms. Sandee Thompson, a 55-year-old two-time breast cancer survivor from Canada calls her cancer journey a learning experience. “Cancer does not have to be the elephant in the room that we do not talk about openly. We must be able to discuss cancer issues as honestly as possible, and without embarrassment, if we want to remove the stigma. This is the best way to beat breast cancer. This is how we can survive it and how we should live,” said Ms. Thompson, who has now lived in Qatar for five years.

Professor Alexander Knuth, Medical Director and CEO of HMC’s National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), said ensuring patients receive the best possible care remains his priority. “In line with HMC’s vision of providing compassionate care to each and every one of its patients, we always ensure our patients receive the best treatment throughout their cancer journey. In addition to ensuring that they receive high-quality physical care, we aim to ensure they receive emotional support throughout,” said Professor Knuth.

Speaking about National Cancer Survivors Day, Professor Knuth continued: “This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate life after cancer, to pay tribute to local cancer survivors, and to bring attention to the ongoing challenges they still face. It is also an opportunity for us to join forces in dispelling myths and misconceptions that hinder efforts to prevent and reduce the still increasing number of cancer cases worldwide.” He concluded: “It is now time for people to know that cancer is often curable; many cancers can go away and never come back if detected early. At HMC, we are making progress every day to enable a more positive cancer outcome and ultimately to increase the cancer survival rate in Qatar and elsewhere.”

Earlier this week, HMC recognized World Blood Cancer Day. Held each year on 28 May, the world health day is dedicated to raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of blood cancer. 

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