Posted on October 01, 2014

For 41 year old Qatar resident Lisa Gardiner, a mammogram suggested by her doctor in Australia during her trip home was routine. With no family history of breast cancer, she didn’t think she could be at a risk. However the mammogram detected a mass and she had a biopsy taken the next day. Upon returning to Qatar from Australia, she received news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer develops when the normal workings of a cell go wrong and the cell becomes abnormal. The abnormal cell keeps dividing, making more and more abnormal cells. These eventually form a lump or tumor. Most breast cancers are not hereditary and most women who get breast cancer don’t have a family history of it.

Hamad Medical Corporation asks [].jpgThe diagnosis came as a shock to Lisa, whose first reaction was denial. “I think my family and friends were more worried than I was – I just wanted to get the cancer removed. I received all my results from Australia and was referred to Dr. Ambika Anand at Hamad General Hospital and from there on everything was taken care of. I had all the scans and tests I needed and the date for my operation to remove the cancer was set.” Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers found in women in Qatar, and approximately 140 cases of breast cancers occur within expatriate and local women every year.

After her surgery, which successfully removed the tumor, Lisa was referred for chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy. “Although I was understandably concerned about having to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy, everything was actually ok. I was treated at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research and the staff and doctors there were so understanding and caring. I was impressed by the range of services available to patients and found I had everything I needed.” she said.

It has now been a year since Lisa finished chemotherapy and she is doing very well. “I had fantastic support throughout my cancer experience, from family and friends and also from the staff at Hamad General and the National Center for Cancer Care and Research. I feel lucky to have been given what feels like a second chance at life and no longer take anything for granted!”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Hamad Medical Corporation is urging women to be ‘Breast Aware’. Dr. Ambika Anand, Senior Consultant Breast Surgeon at Hamad General Hospital said: “Early detection of breast cancer can ensure patients get the best possible outcomes from their treatment. This is why it is important that women are breast aware, which means understanding what is normal for their body and, if they notice anything unusual or something they are concerned about, to seek professional medical advice immediately. It is also recommended in Qatar that women over the age of 40 have regular mammograms to ensure any cancers are detected as early as possible.”