The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) launched its breast cancer awareness campaign entitled 'Early Detection is the Key' at the beginning of October, with the aim of reminding women of the ease of undergoing early examination for breast cancer in the early detection centres of its affiliated health centres and encouraged them to take the examination in the absence of any signs or symptoms.
PHCC encouraged every woman in the State of Qatar to book an appointment for an early detection test for breast cancer, noting that the early detection service depends on inviting the public in the targeted age groups to conduct these examinations in the approved wards of the designated health centers.
PHCC invites women between 45-69 who do not suffer from any symptoms to undergo early detection of breast cancer every three years using a mammogram, adding that the examination takes less than 20 minutes, with privacy and psychological comfort provided, as the breast cancer early detection ward is completely separated from other clinics.
If the results are positive, the patient is contacted and an appointment is set for an interview with the doctor, and then transferred to the specialized clinics at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). However, if the results are negative, a text message is sent to the patient to inform her and remind her of the need to redo the examination within three years.
Director of Early Detection Programs at PHCC, Dr. Sheikha Abu Sheikha, said that “early detection contributes to a cure rate of between 98-100 percent in cases of breast cancer, because the earlier it is detected, the greater the chance of recovery and living a normal life. All it would take is a simple examination, so it should become a routine every three years or as advised by the doctor, just as we do with any other disease, as it is easier to treat breast cancer in its early stages, and the patient is less likely to need a mastectomy or chemotherapy when it is detected at an early stage.”
She added that “PHCC is always keen to remind women of the necessity of early detection of breast cancer every three years, as a one-time examination does not necessarily mean obtaining the full required preventive care. There is no doubt that the success of the early detection of breast cancer program and keeping pace with changing health conditions requires us to expand our awareness messages to encourage all women to undergo early detection examination every three years.”
She explained that early detections help find any abnormal tissue or cancer before symptoms appear and revealed that since the program was launched in 2016, 37,372 women have been examined.
The health centres in which PHCC allocated special facilities for early detection of breast cancer are Al Wakra, Rawdat Al Khail, Leabaib, and Muaither health centres, in addition to a mobile examination unit used to provide early detection examination for women who are unable to go to the designated examination wards.
The examination wards are equipped with highly qualified and trained staff, in addition to reception staff, nurses, experts and specialists in radiology and mammography. These cadres enable patients to undergo early detection examinations very smoothly, and provide adequate answers to all their inquiries, especially that the staff speak different languages, including Arabic, English, Hindi, and Tagalog.
These centres provide a free examination to all eligible target groups who are invited to conduct a routine examination at specific intervals. The target groups are subject to mammogram examination, which is used to detect breast cancer.
During October every year and as part of the celebration of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the 'Early Detection for a Healthy Life' program team publishes awareness messages to educate the public about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.
The team will also organize awareness lectures in several government and private agencies. This year, the lectures will be remotely, in compliance with the precautionary measures implemented by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus. The educational materials for breast cancer awareness will be distributed, and the ambassadors of the program, Sheikha Al Jufairi and Chef Aisha Al Tamimi, will contribute to spreading awareness messages to their followers on social media.
The Breast Cancer Screening program is being conducted under Qatar’s National Cancer Program and in accordance with the Qatar National Health Strategy 2011-2016, which aims to reduce the burden of cancer in the State of Qatar whilst ensuring that where cancer services are required, they are among the best in the world to facilitate improved cancer outcomes.
Those wishing to undergo early detection of breast cancer should call 800 1112 to book an appointment.
For more information, please visit www.screenforlife.qa