The new National Cancer Strategy (2017-2022), expected to be announced during October- November this year, will place greater emphasis on prevention, awareness and myth busting campaigns while minimising patients travelling abroad for treatment.
A new Comprehensive Cancer Centre, scheduled to open in a couple of years, will provide more facilities and services for patients and their families as the design process for the hospital is in the final stages and the construction is likely to start soon.
A report released during the review of the National Cancer Strategy 2011-2016 recently also states that Qatar has made huge strides in cancer treatment and services over the last five years providing, probably, some of the best and advanced care for the patients.
The new strategy will be focusing on fulfilling certain ambitious objectives such as pursuing a world class cancer research agenda and ensuring affordability of care. It will also set sights on improving the use of data and evidence, alignment of governance with stated goals and delivering patient centered care.
A series of deliberative events are planned to support design of the next phase of work as the next strategy will be developed and implemented in a very different financial climate.
As the present strategy is coming to a close, the review highlighted that the use of advanced technology, sophisticated equipment, expertise and know-how in the treatment as well as greater awareness about the disease in the community, have helped in combating cancer effectively.
Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, chair, National Cancer Committee, commented that the cancer care provided in Qatar is one of the best in the world. “I have worked in many advanced countries in the world. The growth and development in processes and pathways for cancer in Qatar has been exceptional.”
“The cancer treatment provided in Qatar is probably as advanced as most of the advanced countries and in some areas, the care provided here, is better than some of these countries. I believe cancer care in Qatar could very soon be world-leading; a beacon for others,” he added.
Some of the significant achievements of the last five years include a cancer public education and awareness programme, introduction of new roles in cancer care, such as patient pathway co-ordinators and clinical nurse specialists, for improving patient outcomes and experience; population-based screening for breast and bowel cancer; development of an urgent suspected cancer referral for first appointment at Hamad Medical Corporation within 48 hours of referral and the opening of a palliative care unit at the National Centre for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR).
In addition, several new cancer services have been developed, using advanced treatment and diagnostic technologies, such as; the Hamad Positron Emission Tomograpy/ Computed Tomography Centre; NCCCR’s CyberKnife; adaptive brachytherapy to treat cervical cancers; Magnetic Resonance-Guided focused Ultra Sound to treat bone metastases and the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Programme, currently being used to provide autologous transplants to patients with hematological cancers.
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