Posted on February 19, 2020

‘Screen For Life,’ Qatar’s free National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening program, is to be expanded as details of its take-up and cancer detection rates reveal world-class results.

The program, which entails a full-service network of highly skilled professionals offering step-by-step, best practice participants support, is operated by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) in line with its mission to provide the population of Qatar with world-class cancer screening services. Figures released show Qatar now has a breast cancer screening uptake rate of 52% and a bowel cancer screening uptake of 49%. This indicates that the National Breast and Bowel Cancer Program in Qatar is in line with the key areas when compared to similar national programs worldwide.

Dr. Shaikha Abu Shaikha, Manager of Screening Programs at PHCC said the results demonstrated Qatar’s world-class commitment to early detection of both breast and bowel cancer – the two most prevalent cancers recorded in the country. ‘The figures speak themselves and have to be judged alongside the reality that early screening can lead to a 98% survival rate in the case of breast cancer and 90% in bowel cancer,” she explained. ‘Screen For Life’ is leading the mission to ease the burden of cancer on Qatar and help build a healthier, happier population through its ongoing, wide-ranging awareness drive and outreach program.

The ‘Screen For Life’ marketing team works tirelessly to engage with communities to share the program’s goals and enhance breast and bowel cancer awareness levels across the country. Dr. Shaikha said the program would soon expand with a fourth screening suite and the introduction of second level screening using ultrasound and attributes the program’s world-class performance to its 360-degree support philosophy. ‘Screen For Life’ support begins with staff at the dedicated call center (8001112) contacting eligible people and inviting them to attend a screening.

Qatar attaining world-class cancer 2 [].jpg

Currently women aged between 45-69 are encouraged to undergo a free mammogram every three years for breast cancer detection whether or not they have concerns or symptoms, while anyone in the 50-74 age bracket is encouraged to undergo screening for bowel cancer every two years. On the screening day participants are welcomed by a PHCC nurse who gives them a full briefing on the process and procedures. If results prove normal, the participant is invited back for another screening after three years for breast cancer, or two years for bowel screening.

However, if the results are abnormal, which doesn’t necessarily mean the participant has cancer, the participant is recalled for further assessment. ‘Screen For Life’ guides the participant closely through the next steps and secures an appointment with specialists at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) which closely collaborates with the program. ‘Screen For Life’ continues to offer full support to participants right through the post screening stage; if the results were again normal after the assessment at HMC, participants are back in the program’s system and will be recalled for screening as per the guidelines.

 “The very word cancer can often strike fear into people, we fully understand this and provide support which helps allay the level of worry through the process,” explained Dr. Shaikha. “We work with HMC to ensure that the process is completed as quickly as possible and that participants do not have to wait long for appointments. ‘Screen For Life’ is by the participant’s side, every step of the way ensuring always have somewhere to turn for support.”  “Qatar offers excellent cancer care and screening is free for citizens and residents in the country. We are indeed fortunate to have this level of care and I would urge all to ensure they take advantage of it,” said Dr. Shaikha.