Qatar’s Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) will stage a new campaign this March, ‘Be The Role Model’ to encourage the public, both men and women aged 50 to 74 years old, to take up the bowel cancer screening opportunities offered under Qatar’s National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening programme, Screen For Life.

The campaign will mark the International Bowel Cancer Awareness month and has drawn the support of three high profile ambassadors and supporters: Qatar TV anchor and Quran Kareem radio programme producer Aqeel Saleh Al Janahi; Qatar Municipal Council Member and Head of Legal Committee Shaikha Al Jufairi; and well-known Qatari Chef and Etiquette Expert Aisha Al Tamimi.

Dr Shaikha Abu Shaikha, Manager of Screening Programmes at PHCC, expressed her thanks to the ambassadors and supporters who will use their public profiles and extensive influence to encourage the public to get screened and overcome some of the obstacles people have to screening.

According to a research by Screen for Life, there are three main reasons why people in the target group chose not to accept screening invitations.

The key reasons, explained Dr Shaikha are lack of time, fear of testing positive for cancer and a misunderstanding of faith. Some people think faith means they don’t need to get screened.

We believe if we can tackle these fundamental obstacles, we can improve our screening rates to tackle the prevalence of bowel cancer which remains the second most diagnosed cancer in Qatar and a leading cause of death among its residents.

Throughout the month, the ‘Be The Role Model’ campaign will see the new ambassadors take part in Screen For Life activities, help spread the message and encourage people to get screened throughout their channels.

Screen For Life advises residents in the target age range to undergo bowel cancer screening every two years following the international quality assurance guidelines.

Screening should be undertaken by all in the 50-74 age range whether or not they are displaying symptoms of the disease. We need to make them aware that by taking a very simple FIT test, which can be done in the privacy of their own homes, they are pro-actively protecting their health.

The FIT test (Fecal Immunochemical Test) involves providing a fecal sample via a complementary kit available at the PHCC screening suites in Al Wakra, Leabaib and Rawdat Al Khail Health Centres. People are advised to schedule their appointments by calling 800 1112.

The PHCC Screen For Life programme is working closely with the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation and Qatar Cancer Society to synergise efforts to reduce early deaths from cancer and other chronic diseases by 25% by 2025, in line with the National Health Strategy targets 2018-2022.

Last year, some 14,293 people in Qatar underwent screening for bowel cancer. Dr Shaikha said that more people are heeding the screening call, but they still have a long way to go to achieve the National Health Strategy targets.

By leveraging our new ambassadors’ efforts and encouraging people to be role models for others, we hope to boost awareness and screening, and ultimately improve the overall health of the nation.

Visit screenforlife.qa to learn more about the screening services available to the public. 

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