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Posted On: 4 October 2018 11:55 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:01 pm

Facts about breast cancer in Qatar

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As many of you know, October is breast cancer awareness month and it is celebrated everywhere in the world to raise awareness about what breast cancer is, its symptoms, its treatment, prevention, healthy lifestyle and to remember those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, survived it and those who have passed on because of it.

In this article, we discuss breast cancer in Qatar and how the country is working round-the-clock to try to reduce the number of breast cancer patients and raise their rate of survival.

1. Statistics in Qatar

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Qatar, it accounts for 31% of cancer cases in women. In fact, breast cancer in women ranked first amongst all new cases of malignant cancers in women at 39.41%. In 2015, 1,466 new cancer cases were diagnosed in Qatar. Breast cancer was the number one form of cancer and this was followed by colon, rectum and prostate cancers.

According to statistics, 1 in every 8 women will get breast cancer at some point during their life and 8 out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer don’t have a family history of this cancer, though those who have a blood relative (mother, daughter or sister) with breast cancer are at a higher risk (perhaps, double) of getting breast cancer. However, almost 100% of those diagnosed with breast cancer may survive if treated early on. In fact, the three-year survival rate from malignant breast cancer in Qatar during the period 2013-2015 saw a high of 82.3%.

According to the Qatar Cancer Registry, the risk of women in Qatar developing breast cancer is 56 per 100,000; most of the women with breast cancer in Qatar are below 60 years of age with a high proportion of them diagnosed at the advanced stage. 16.2% of the women diagnosed with breast cancer in Qatar are between 45 - 49 years old.

2. Men can also have breast cancer

Though breast cancer is more common in women, men can also have breast cancer, but a man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. In the 2015 report of the Qatar National Cancer Registry (QNCR), the Ministry of Public Health indicated that 248 people were diagnosed with a malignant form of breast cancer. Of these cases, 24 were men, and the remaining 242 were women.

3. Signs and symptoms

If diagnosed early on, breast cancer is treatable and patients can be cured of the disease. The most common breast cancer symptom is a new lump or mass in the breast, but there are other symptoms that may include irritation of the skin, dimpling of the breast, pain in the nipple, retraction of the nipple (turning inwards), swelling of all or a part of the breast, discharge from the nipple, and thickening or redness of the skin of the breast or the nipple.

Breast cancer care in Doha

4. Focus on cancer treatment

The mission of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is to provide the safest, most effective and most compassionate care to our population and to provide help and support through early detection and education. The aim is to provide people in Qatar the knowledge they need through sharing information about breast awareness, talking about mammograms, prevention, and how early detection can save lives. HMC has adopted cutting-edge technologies, including the operation of the first PET CT scanner in the Middle East, and this indicates its seriousness and its focus on improving cancer services and patient outcomes.

5. Advanced treatment in Qatar

Early detection is important to obtain the best possible treatment and increase chances of survival from breast cancer. Breast cancer patients are now receiving advanced treatment and care in Qatar as a result of professionals in the field of cancer, multi-disciplinary care, advanced treatment procedures with state-of-the-art medical equipment and timely medical attention. Breast cancer deaths have been on the decline in Qatar ever since awareness has increased on the disease, screening has become more widespread leading to early detection, and new and advanced treatment options are available.

Breast cancer treatment in Qatar

6. Breast screening

Breast screening is able to detect cancer in the early stages, so it can be treated before it reaches the advanced stages when it is relatively harder to treat. In fact, a mammogram screening can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer 30 - 40% among women aged between 40 and 70 years. That’s why, as part of Qatar’s National Cancer Program, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) is making breast and bowel screening available throughout the country.

6.1 Mammogram

Many women have the misconception that a mammogram in painful and puts a lot of pressure on the breasts, but it is quite safe, quick and almost painless. A mammogram screens the breasts for any abnormalities; It is a simple, low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts that is non-invasive and has the potential to detect potential breast cancer as early as possible. It reveals changes in the breasts that are not normal and records the results on x-ray film or directly onto a computer for a radiologist to examine. It is used to screen for breast cancer in woman who do not have any signs or symptoms of the cancer.

Breast Screening Unit in Doha

6.2. Screen For Life

Screen For Life’, Qatar’s National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening programme, leads the mission to ease the burden of cancer on the country and help build a healthier, happier population through its ongoing, wide-ranging awareness drive and outreach programme. It is a full-service network of capable and experienced medical professionals, and provides step-by-step, best practice patient support in line with PHCC’s mission to provide people in Qatar – local and expats – state-of-the-art cancer screening services and support.

‘Screen For Life’ offers all women in Qatar free breast screening if they are between the ages of 45 and 70 every three years. There are 3 breast screening facilities in Qatar that have been provided by PHCC. These are located at the Al Wakra, Leabaib and Rawdat Al Khail Health Centers, and the Mobile Screening Unit is also becoming increasing popular and travels to different parts of the country offering free screening for women.

Screen for Life Breast Screening in Qatar
Image Credit: Screen For Life

Qatar cancer data acknowledged by World Health Organisation (WHO)

Qatar is among just a few countries in the Middle East whose cancer data has been accepted by WHO. This reflects the high quality of data collected by Qatar on health issues; the Qatar cancer data was also published in the 10th edition on cancer cases by WHO (Ci5-X) issued by the International Agency for Research in Cancer and is part of WHO.

If you are between the ages of 45 and 70, please get a free screening done. For more details, call 800 1112.

What do you think of these statistics and facts about breast cancer in Qatar? What do you think of the breast cancer treatment in Qatar? Have you ever had a screening done? Do let us know what you think in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!