‘Screen for Life,’ Qatar’s free National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening programme, is to be expanded as the details of its take-up and detection rates reveal world-class results.
Dr Shaikha Abu Shaikha, manager, Screening Programmes, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), said the programme would soon be expanded with a fourth screening suite and the introduction of second level screening using ultrasound and attributed the programme’s world-class performance to its 360-degree support philosophy.
The programme, which entails a full-service network of highly skilled professionals offering step-by-step, is operated by PHCC to provide the population of Qatar with world-class screening services.
Figures released show Qatar now has a breast cancer screening uptake rate of 52% and a bowel cancer screening uptake of 49%. This indicates that the National Breast and Bowel Cancer Programme in Qatar is in line with the key areas when compared to similar national programmes worldwide.
Dr Shaikha said that the results demonstrated Qatar’s commitment to early detection of both breast and bowel cancer – the two most prevalent cancers recorded in the country.
“The figures speak themselves and have to be judged alongside the reality that early screening can lead to a 98% survival rate in the case of breast cancer and 90% in bowel cancer,” she explained.
‘Screen for Life’ is leading the mission to ease the burden of cancer on Qatar and help build a healthier, happier population through its ongoing, wide-ranging awareness drive and outreach programme. The ‘Screen for Life’ marketing team works tirelessly to engage with communities to share the programme’s goals and enhance breast and bowel cancer awareness levels across the country.
‘Screen for Life’ support begins with staff at the dedicated call centre (8001112) contacting eligible people and inviting them to attend a screening. Currently women aged between 45-69 are encouraged to undergo a free mammogram every three years for breast cancer detection whether or not they have concerns or symptoms, while anyone in the 50-74 age bracket is encouraged to undergo screening for bowel cancer every two years.
On the screening day participants are welcomed by a PHCC nurse who gives them a full briefing on the process and procedures. If results prove normal, the participant is invited back for another screening after three years for breast cancer, or two years for bowel screening.
However, if the results are abnormal, which doesn’t necessarily mean the participant has cancer, the participant is recalled for further assessment. ‘Screen for Life’ guides the participant closely through the next steps and secures an appointment with specialists at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) which collaborates with the programme. ‘Screen for Life’ continues to offer full support to participants right through the post screening stage; if the results were again normal after the assessment at HMC, participants are back in the programme’s system and will be recalled for screening as per the guidelines.
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