PHCC to start breast and bowel cancer screening from January
December 20 2015 08:27 PM


By Joseph Varghese/Staff Reporter

The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) will start the ‘Screen for Life’ programme, an initiative for free screening of breast and bowel cancer for citizens and residents from January 2016 - most likely from the 17th.

The details of the programme were given yesterday by Dr Mariam Ali Abdulmalik, managing director, PHCC; Sheikh Dr Mohamed al-Thani, director, Public Health Department, Supreme Council of Health (SCH); Sheikha Leena bint Nasser bin Khaled al-Thani, ambassador of the ‘Screen for Life’ Breast Cancer awareness programme; Dr Salha Boujassoum, co-Chair of the Breast Cancer Tumor Board and the Clinical Lead for the Breast Cancer, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Norman Hames, chief operating officer of RadNet, which provides the expertise.

The programme will first be launched at the Al Wakra Breast & Bowel Cancer Screening Centre located at Al Wakra Health Centre from January. This will be followed by the launch of the Mobile Unit as well as the Breast & Bowel Cancer Screening Centres in Leabaib and Rawdat Al Khail health centres. PHCC will also launch a special Call Centre for the programme.

The initiative is a life-saving programme that promotes education, awareness and early detection of cancer in Qatar.The implementation is in line with the National Cancer Strategy’s key recommendation for a population-based cancer screening programme in Qatar.

PHCC is the lead implementer of the programme. The breast cancer screening is recommended every three years and that for bowel cancer every year.

“This is the first time, a population-based cancer screening programme with a formal organisational structure is actively undertaken across the country,” said Dr Abdulmalik. “ We have partnered with some of the leading experts of systems and technologies from the private sector as we aim to encourage people to make the right choice for their health.”

“ Cancer is no longer a fatal illness, with early diagnosis being crucial to long term survival and successful care and treatment. Screening helps diagnose cancer early and is an important modality in ensuring survival and timely treatment. SCH together with HMC and PHCC are the responsible organisations for the new screening service,” noted Sheikh Sheikh Mohamed.

The programme’s objective is to save lives by encouraging women aged 45 and above with no symptoms to undergo breast cancer screening through mammography. The campaign also calls on both men and women aged 50 and above to undergo bowel cancer screening through Faecal Immunochemical Test.

Dr Boujassoum pointed out that the launch of PHCC’s ‘Screen for Life’ programme is testimony to the all-out effort by Qatar in ensuring the health and well-being of its citizens and residents and in saving their lives through the early detection of breast and bowel cancer.

“As a long-time advocate and supporter of the importance of early screening and detection, I will certainly work hand-in-hand with the proponents of this programme to save more lives,” announced Sheikha Leena at the press conference.

“RadNet has demonstrated its expertise across various initiatives such as research, education, technology, clinical best practices and quality,” said Hames.

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