11 Sep 2017 - 2:12
Cancer screening plan receives healthy boost
By Fazeena Saleem / The Peninsula
Screen For Life, Qatar’s national Breast and Bowel Cancer screening programme, now in its second year of successful operations, is being supported by a clear and concise Screening Pathway.
The first-ever of its kind programme in the GCC, was initiated in early 2016 by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in accordance with the National Health Strategy 2011-2016.
Led by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), the aim of the programme is to raise awareness levels of breast and bowel cancer across Qatar and drive home the message that early screening is key for a healthy future.
In line with the pathway ’Screen For Life’ targets all women aged 45 and above who are showing no signs of breast cancer symptoms, recommending them to undergo a breast cancer screening by calling the ‘Screen For Life’ dedicated call center on 800 1112 and book an appointment at one of the three facilities. If the result is normal, the patient is required to undergo screening after three years.
For an abnormal result, the patient will receive a call for a follow-up appointment with PHCC doctors.
The doctor will then refer the patient to Hamad Medical Corporation for further tests.
Women aged 45 or above who are showing signs of symptoms of breast cancer, should call their PHCC family physician for consultation. Symptoms include a persistent lump in the breast, one or more lumps in the armpit, change in shape or size of a breast, skin colour changes, increased redness or warmth, or discharge from the nipple. Women under 45, who are showing signs of any of the symptoms, or who are classed as ‘High Risk’ because they have a previous history of cancer, or have an immediate relative who has had breast cancer, should call their family physician at the PHCC for further consultation.
In the case of bowel cancer, the ‘Screen For Life’ Pathway advises that men and women aged 50 and above, who show no signs of symptoms should take the initiative and contact the call centre to request a screening appointment at one of the dedicated facilities.
If the results are normal, a patient only needs to repeat the procedure after one year. If the results are abnormal, the patient will receive a call for a follow-up appointment with PHCC doctors. The doctor will then refer the patient to HMC for further examination. People aged 50 or above who show symptoms meanwhile, are urged to consult their family doctor at the PHCC. The symptoms of bowel cancer include blood in the stool or rectal bleeding, changes in bowel movements (diarrhoea or constipation) lasting more than two weeks, persistent cramps, gas or pain, and unintentional weight loss.
People under the age of 50 who show signs or symptoms or who are classed as High Risk, meanwhile, should contact their doctor, according to the Pathway.
Abnormal results do not mean the person has cancer. It means they require further tests that will help to determine if the exam is normal and is not a cause for alarm. It’s always reminded that that ‘Early Detection Saves Lives.’
‘Screen For Life’ has three screening facilities at Rawdat Al Khail Health Center, Leabaib Health Center and Al Wakra Health Center, offering free breast and bowel cancer screening.