Ministry stresses importance of screening for colorectal cancer
March 09 2019 09:59 PM
colorectal cancer


The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) is partnering with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and the Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and educate people about the importance of prevention, early detection and awareness about screening programmes available in Qatar.

According to the Qatar National Cancer Registry, in 2015 there were 145 newly diagnosed cases of malignant colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer ranked the second most common amongst males with 94 new cases and was the third most common cancer amongst female with 51 new cases. The peak incidence was in the age group 50-59 years, more than 50% of cases were diagnosed over the age of 55 years.

Catherine Gillespie, director of the National Cancer Programme at the MoPH, highlighted the need for all healthcare providers to work together during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March to encourage individuals to think about their health.

“The National Cancer Programme team continues to work with all cancer care providers across the country to empower the public to make informed choices regarding lifestyle which can help reduce the risk of developing cancer,’’ she said.

“Over the past three years the dedication of the Screen for Life team has resulted in a unified vision of reaching out to people in larger numbers through creating awareness of the importance of timely screening of cancer. In 2018, 10,803 people were screened for bowel cancer and since the launch of this programme, more than 25,000 people have been screened. During March, we have planned several initiatives to further deliver on our promises and make Qatar a healthier country,’’noted, Dr Shaikha Abu Shaikha, manager of Screening Programmes at PHCC.

Dr Mohamed Abunada, lead colorectal surgeon at HMC, said, "The risk of colorectal cancer can be reduced through lifestyle changes and by detecting at a very early stage with routine screening. We hope that during this awareness month, people can be encouraged to undergo this potentially lifesaving measure and immediately take the initiative to discuss their screening options with their healthcare provider.”

“ In our continuous efforts to reduce the burden of cancer in the community, we launched the ‘Your food…Your health’ campaign which aims to raise awareness about the risk factors of colorectal cancer and focuses on the importance of early detection prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Hiba Nasser, head of the Health Education Department at QCS.

Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. Over time some polyps can transform into cancer. These polyps can be found through screening tests and removed before they turn into cancer.

Screening tests are the best way to prevent cancer as they can detect colorectal cancer early and ensure the cancer is being treated successfully.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include unexpected weight loss, weakness and fatigue, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, rectal bleeding and a change in bowel habits.

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