This week H.E. Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health officially inaugurated the new Breast Care Clinic at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR).
Commenting on the significance of the new clinic, Her Excellency highlighted that its opening marked an important milestone on the journey towards reducing the incidence of breast cancer in Qatar - the most common cancer among women in the country.
Her Excellency said: “The new Breast Care Clinic at NCCCR reinforces our commitment as a country to the provision of excellent breast cancer care - highlighted in our recently launched five-year National Cancer Framework 2017-2022. It is our goal to utilize our leading specialists, world-class treatment techniques and technologies to ensure as many women as possible are diagnosed as early as possible. This means that when treatment is necessary, it can be less invasive and outcomes can be more positive.”
The Breast Care Clinic, which began receiving referrals last November from the National Screening Program and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), provides diagnoses and arranges treatment of breast cancer for women in one convenient location. Women visiting the clinic will have access to specialized services including ultrasound, core biopsies, clinical breast examinations and breast tomosynthesis - an advanced type of mammogram that can offer better cancer detection resulting in the need for fewer biopsies.
Dr. Amal Al Obaidli, Deputy Chair and Senior Consultant in Radiology at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research at HMC said: “The Breast Care Clinic has been specially designed to be a healing environment providing both convenience and comfort for women. As well as being a one stop location for patients, the clinic offers world renowned techniques to reduce the time needed to diagnose women and start any required treatment immediately.”
According to Dr. Al Obaidli, the clinic conducts a triple assessment test - currently the gold standard internationally for thorough and accurate breast cancer diagnoses. The special assessment requires every patient referred to the clinic to go through a series of diagnostic tests including a clinical breast examination, breast imaging and or a core biopsy, if a lump is found.
“If a woman is found to have abnormal results after the triple assessment, they will meet with a radiologist and surgeon at the clinic and undergo a radiological examination for further diagnosis. Those whose results are clear are discharged to the National Screening Program for regular screening every three years,” said Dr. Al Obaidli
Last year, HMC collaborated with PHCC to promote breast cancer screening amongst women. Since the clinic opened its doors to patients they have performed the triple assessment test on over 500 women, 38 of which have tested positive for breast cancer.
Dr. Al Obaidli added: “If detected early, breast cancer has a 98 percent survival rate. As a result, it is very important that women aged 45 and above are screened appropriately for breast cancer at their local PHCC. It is also important that they take care to stay physically active and eat a healthy diet as these are proven factors in helping towards the prevention of breast cancer.”