Healthcare Teams Join Forces to Beat Cancer

The Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) today join millions around the world in marking World Cancer Day 2016.

This year’s theme – “We Can – I Can” underlines the fact that everyone in our community from healthcare providers and policy makers through to members of the public can play a part in beating cancer.

Following the launch of the National Cancer Strategy in 2011, the National Cancer Program was established to drive the implementation of the 62 recommendations in the strategy from prevention and education through to screening programs and treatment options.

“Cancer touches everyone in our community in some way,” said Her Excellency Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari the Minister of Public Health.  “We are well advanced in the implementation of the National Cancer Strategy and this is a reflection of the truly collaborative effort between healthcare partners and organizations. Everyone can play a part in beating cancer – from the partners in the National Cancer Program who are developing processes and services to facilitate prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment and long-term transitions, to the general public who make a decision every day about their lifestyle.

“Together ‘We Can’ ensures no one feels alone or unsupported after a cancer diagnosis. We would also like to remind cancer patients and their families that they can ask for support if they need it. All partners in the National Cancer Program are working together to ensure that cancer support and services in Qatar are accessible and supportive.”

World Cancer Day 2016 is also an opportunity for members of the community to take steps to reduce the impact of cancer. For example choosing to eat healthily, stop smoking or educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of cancer.

Another proactive way in which the public can mark World Cancer Day this year is to make a pledge to take up breast and bowel cancer screening. ‘Screen for Life’, a life-saving program, was officially launched promoting education and awareness of the benefits of early detection of cancer in Qatar.

The program aims to save precious lives by encouraging women aged 45 years or older with no symptoms to book breast cancer screening through a mammography.

Experts recommend that women should repeat breast screening every three years.  The campaign also calls on both men and women aged 50 years or older with no symptoms to undergo bowel cancer screening through FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test). This is a simple test which can be undertaken on an annual basis, as recommended by PHCC.

Dr. Mariam Ali Abdulmalik, Managing Director of PHCC, said: World Cancer Day and the “We Can – I Can” theme are proudly supported by Qatar’s primary care provider.

“We are very pleased to have the new breast and bowel screening services in place so people can be pro-active in safe guarding their precious health,” Dr. Abdulmalik said.  “PHCC’s rapid and definitive diagnosis will save lives if the community supports our efforts by helping us detect issues as soon as possible. Early detection of cancer enormously increases the chances of successful treatment.”

Ms. Fiona Bonas, Director of the National Cancer Program highlighted the improvement in cancer services and prevention across the country over the last four years, since the launch of the strategy, which he puts down to the collaborative working with all partners in the strategy.

“A strategy of this size with 62 key recommendations could only be met by all key stakeholders working closely and consistently together,” Ms. Bonas said. “It is noticeable that the implementation process has been successful when all teams have pulled together. This is particularly relevant to recommendation 5.3 of the National Cancer Strategy, which stated the need for an introduction of a population based cancer screening service in Qatar.”