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Friday, February 26, 2021

Women in Qatar urged to sign up for free breast screenings

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Free mammograms are now available to female Qatar residents between the age 45 and 69 years old as part of a campaign to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) is running a campaign throughout October to encourage women to book appointments for the test as part of its Screen For Life program.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Qatar among women, accounting for a third of all cancer cases in this demographic.

However, survival rates are high if the cancer is diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

Making an appointment

Throughout this month, the PHCC will have stands in four malls across Qatar reminding women to book mammograms.

Women aged between 45 and 69 with no current or past symptoms are eligible for screening. They can call 8001112 to book and appointment.

However, women who have previously suffered from breast cancer should contact their physician at PHCC for further guidance.

You can then choose between two screening centers – in Al Wakra and Leabaib (northern Doha).

A valid HMC health card is required to use the service.

The Ministry of Health recommends that most women get breast cancer screenings every three years.

Women who are under 45 years old in Qatar can call 107 to book their own appointments.

‘Relaxing environment’

Qatar resident Rachel Morris recently had a mammogram at the Al Wakrah center, and shared her experience on the When, Where and How in Doha group on Facebook.

She said that she had booked the appointment easily on the phone and was seen on time. A nurse then took her family history and explained the procedure.

Photo for illustrative purposes only
Photo for illustrative purposes only

Afterwards, she had the mammogram performed by a “well trained and very professional” staffer. She also praised the center for having a relaxing environment:

“The screening center itself is located within the health center there and is more like a spa with comfy couches, soft music and even a nespresso machine” she said.

She added that she received her results via text message the following day.

Morris, who works for HMC, said that she shared her experience to inspire more women to take advantage of the service.

“We are all quick to criticize things in this country that don’t live up to our expectations or just don’t work like we want them to. This service is something we should use and support,” she said.

Mobile screening service

The two fixed screening centers in Al Wakrah and Doha are not the only option for women in Qatar who want to arrange a mammogram.

Mobile breast screening unit
Mobile breast screening unit

In August, a new, mobile breast screening unit began a city-wide tour to encourage women to get themselves checked.

The tests are carried out in private by a female mammography technologist and trained nurses.

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