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PHCC Launches Bowel Cancer Awareness Campaign to Encourage Early Screening

02 Mar 2023

Dr Sheikha Abu Sheikha

In parallel with the Bowel Cancer Awareness Campaigns that are celebrated every March of each year, the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), through the Screen for Life Program, has launched an awareness campaign on the screening of bowel cancer which is the one of the most common cancers among women and men in Qatar.

Firstly, The Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening Program also known as ‘Screen for Life’ is a lifesaving, population-based program that aims to promote education, awareness and early detection of breast and bowel cancer in Qatar. The program is being conducted under Qatar’s National Cancer Program and in accordance with the country’s National Health Strategy 2011-2016, which represents a shift towards preventive and community-based care. Therefore, on a yearly basis, the program launches a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about bowel cancer and the importance of screening. 

The month-long campaign is aimed at educating the public about the importance of early detection of bowel cancer and to promote getting screened with a free bowel test which is known as the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT test) offered to all women and men in Qatar aged between 50-74 years, showing no symptoms related to bowel cancer and who did not have bowel cancer screening done in the last two years or any colonoscopy within the last 10 years to do the bowel cancer screening.
Bowel cancer screening test (FIT test) is a home screening test in which the participant takes 3 stool samples over a period of one week and submits them afterwards to the nearest health center. Bowel cancer screening service is accessible either through a face-to-face consultation or a phone consultation. Either way, the process starts by confirming the participants’ details and eligibility criteria by the cancer screening team. Then, the team will guide the participant on how to perform the test at home. It is worth mentioning that home delivery service was reactivated recently after the acceptance shown during its initial activation during Covid 19 pandemic. This service is particularly available to those who have previously completed their screenings, including elderly, people with special requirements, and those who cannot attend in person due to far distance.

This year, the campaign launched under the title “Preventable, Treatable, Curable” is a reminder to all the women and men in Qatar about the importance of screening, through which bowel cancer can be detected at an early stage. When detected at early stage, bowel cancer is treatable and the chances of getting cured reach up to 90%. The key for the prevention of bowel cancer is through healthy lifestyle and periodic screening which is done through Screen For life program.

Throughout the month of March, the ‘Screen for Life’ team will be actively doing different activities, starting from lectures and workshops, as well as digital media campaign which includes the launch of a social media competition on PHCC’s Instagram account. In addition to this, Screen for Life, through PHCC, will be collaborating with its program ambassadors and social media influencers to promote the bowel cancer awareness and importance of screening.

“Our slogan “preventable, treatable, curable” is to remind all women and men, 50 years and above, to do their routine screening even if they don’t have any symptoms. Let us not forget, bowel cancer is among the cancer with highest prevalence in Qatar, however; when detected at early stages, recovery rate can reach to 90% and above” said Dr. Shaikha Abu Shaikha, Director of the screening programs at the Primary Health Care Corporation.

The enrollment of the program can be through either receiving a call from the cancer screening call center to schedule an appointment, by a physician’s electronic referral to the cancer screening program or by the participants calling the cancer screening call center number 8001112 to schedule the appointment. The Breast and Bowel cancer screening suites are available in four different health centers across Qatar: Al Wakrah, Rawdat Al Khail, Muaither and Laibeib. All these clinics are fully equipped with the highest technology and well-trained professional team.

So, if you are eligible or know someone who is eligible for bowel cancer screening, all you have to do is to call the National cancer screening call center number 800 1112 and our team will book you an appointment.

Make sure to follow the program on Social Media platforms @PHCC and @screenforlifeqa and visit the website to get more information about bowel cancer, its symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and many other details throughout the month of March.”