Over 25,000 people in Qatar underwent breast or bowel cancer screening during 2019 with ‘Screen for Life,’ it was announced on Monday.
Qatar’s National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening programme, launched four years ago by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), thus recorded its most successful year.
Some 14,293 people underwent free screening for bowel cancer and 10,983 taking up the opportunity of mammograms for breast cancer. The two diseases are the most often detected cancers in the country.
The screenings were carried out either at the three PHCC screening suites at Al Wakra, Leabaib and Rawdat Al Khail Health Centres or via the Screen for Life mobile unit. PHCC screening suites offer both breast and bowel cancer screenings while the mobile unit offers only breast cancer screening.
During the year, Screen for Life conducted 31 education lectures for the public on the importance of screening for early detection. The lectures were attended by 938 people. In addition, 903 people registered for screening during the different awareness activities with a further 5,901 patients being referred for screening after intense training sessions for local physicians. A total of 455 healthcare providers attended 45 training sessions held throughout the year.
“Last year was one of superb progress in our screening and education programmes with more people being screened, many lectures delivered, more physicians trained on the importance of referring their patients to screening and more partners from both the public and private sectors engaged in our mission,” explained Dr Shaikha Abu Shaikha, manager of Screening Programmes at PHCC.
‘Screen for Life’ also mounted two hugely successful month-long awareness drives to mark global initiatives for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (March) and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). During these campaigns, the team engaged with a wide cross-section of Qatar society through nationwide tours of its mobile screening unit, the hosting of awareness lectures at governmental departments, private sector entities and education institutes, the staging of awareness campaigns in malls, health centres and across various media channels.
The year also saw pioneering Qatar Municipality Council Member and Head of the Legal Committee Shaikha bint Youssef bin Hassan al-Jufairi become a brand ambassador for ‘Screen for Life’.
Shaikha al-Jufairi joined a select group of high-profile personalities who for years have supported ‘Screen for Life’ and are using their influence to encourage Qatar residents to seek early screening to detect breast and bowel cancer.
Other annual high points for Screen for Life were the expansion of the screening suites at Leabaib and Rawdat Al Khail Health Centres, and the first posting with Qatar’s Lekhwiya Forces headquarters, where this tour of duty was a prelude to November’s global ‘Movember’ campaign, which aims to draw attention to men’s health, including bowel cancer.
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