In recognition of Bladder Cancer National Awareness Month, Qatar’s public healthcare providers and Qatar Cancer Society are working together to raise awareness of bladder cancer through public engagement and media activities.
July is observed as bladder cancer awareness month.
The aim of the collaboration is to highlight the signs and symptoms of the disease to increase public understanding of the importance of early detection, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of this disease.
Bladder cancer occurs when abnormal cells within the bladder grow in an uncontrolled way. It forms in the layers of the bladder wall and is described and treated based on how far it has moved into the wall of the bladder.
Qatar National Cancer Registry statistics for 2015, showed 21 newly diagnosed cases, 24% of which were Qataris. More than 75% of the cases with reported stage were at early stage (I &II). The peak age of incidence was in the age group of 50-59 years, and 86% of the overall cases were among males.
Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director of Public Health at the Ministry of Public Health, has encouraged people to reduce their risk of bladder cancer by making healthy choices every day. Although genetics, ageing and few unchangeable risk factors cannot be controlled by making meaningful lifestyle changes, the odds for preventing cancer can be increased through healthy lifestyle measures, such as regular exercise, controlling weight, eating a healthy diet and not smoking.
“In line with Qatar National Vision 2030, Qatar’s public health care providers in conjunction with their partners are dedicated to educating people about cancer, providing comfort to those dealing with and recovering from the disease and working jointly to help eradicate all types of cancer including bladder cancer,” said Sheikh Dr Mohamed.
Dr Usama al-Homsi, senior consultant with the Oncology Department at National Center for Cancer Care and Research, said: “Detecting bladder cancer can be quite simple. The key is to not ignore the symptoms, the most common of which is blood in the urine, even if there are no other symptoms. Symptoms may include: trouble urinating, pain when urinating and the need to urinate more often than usual.
Dr al-Homsi went on to highlight the high five-year survival rate for bladder cancer if detected at an early stage. Tests include urinalysis, urine cytology and urine tests which can diagnose bladder cancer early, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment and recovery.