The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) along with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and Qatar Cancer Society (QCS), are partnering once again to strengthen their existing efforts to raise awareness of lung cancer throughout the month of May –Lung Cancer Awareness Month and also for World No Tobacco Day.

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs; usually in the cells that line the air passages. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer globally and is ranked 5th and 8th most common cancers in Qatar among men and women, according to 2015 Annual Report of Qatar National Cancer Registry at the MoPH.

More than 16% of cancer-related deaths among Qatar’s population in 2015, were caused by lung cancer. Tobacco use is responsible for about 90% of lung cancer cases. The joint efforts of Qatar’s healthcare partners focus on encouraging the public to quit smoking and lead a healthier life.

Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director, public health at MOPH, said, “On this World No Tobacco Day, the MoPH and its partners are calling on people to quit tobacco smoking and say no to second-hand smoke, to protect their lungs. Tobacco is harmful in all its forms. Tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke can cause lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. MOPH is contributing to cancer control by leading nationwide awareness interventions against all cancer risk factors. With this aim, activities are being held across Qatar to provide information to encourage tobacco users to quit.”

Catherine Gillespie, director, the National Cancer Programme, said, “Not smoking is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of developing lung cancer. We need to support those people who want to stop smoking as well as encourage young people not to take up the habit.”

Prof Alex Knuth, chief executive officer and medical director of the National Center of Cancer Care and Research at HMC, stressed the importance of smoking cessation.

He suggested that counselling is an important measure that smokers should take to understand the risk they face of developing lung cancer. He also encouraged people to refrain from unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, quitting smoking and eating a balanced diet will reduce the risk of developing lung cancer as well as many other diseases.

“The most common symptoms of lung cancer are a persistent cough, coughing up blood, chest pain, and hoarseness, shortness of breath, wheezing and feeling tired or weak. Unfortunately, most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread. Therefore, prevention is always better than cure. It is a fact that smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, and to help minimise that, PHCC has specialised clinics to help people quit smoking in 10 health centres. People can directly call 107 to schedule an appointment,” said Dr Shaikha Abu Shaikha, manager, Screening Programmes, PHCC.

Hiba Nassar, head, health education department at QCS, said, “QCS runs a campaign in the World No Tobacco Day framework every year to stress the importance of quitting smoking and underline the effects of both active and passive smoking. Thereby complementing the educational role of the QCS since its establishment in 1997 to raise awareness of cancer and refute the myths associated with this devastating disease.”

Related Story