Cancer treatment for all residents in Qatar is now totally free of cost at the Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) oncology department, a senior official has said. "If a resident had to pay 20% earlier for oncology treatment recently it was made completely free,” explained Dr Osama al-Homsi, chairman and senior consultant, Haematology and Oncology, National Centre for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) in an interview with local Arabic daily Al Arab.

"The free treatment is helping many patients, especially since 20% of the amount can sometimes be huge, because of the high price of cancer drugs,” he pointed out while expressing happiness at the government decision. Qatar is keen to bring to the country the latest treatment for cancer. A new system has been developed to protect patients against strokes that may happen due to the inadequate mobility.

NCCCR is also keen to provide alternate treatment options for patients without having to become inmates in the hospital by way of using a mobile medical unit that visit them at home and follow up their treatment at the same level given at the hospital. This would eventually save the number of beds needed for the patients that should stay in the hospital.

Dr al-Homsi pointed out that 16 committees have been formed to assess the cases of patients and determine the most suitable treatment. Each team is specialised in the surgery of a different type of cancer. Due to such developments the percentage of Qataris seeking cancer treatment abroad has dropped considerably. "New updates in the field are followed closely and in case any new medications are introduced globally, it would be approved and brought into the country," he added.

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