By FAZEENA SALEEM
DOHA: With 10 percent of deaths caused by cancer in Qatar, a campaign has been launched to counter myths about the disease and urge people to seek medical advice when needed.
The National Cancer Program (NCP), a collaboration between the Supreme Council of Health, Hamad Medical Corporation and Primary Health Care Corporation, recently released two videos featuring influential people and activists in Qatari society, highlighting the importance of cancer awareness and calling on everyone in Qatar to take action against the disease and shatter myths about it.
Emma Walsh, Programme Manager, Cancer Prevention, Awareness and Early Prevention at NCP, during a discussion yesterday, said, “There is strong stigma for people to receive diagnosis and go to society.”
She also said that people delayed screening and that prevents early detection of cancer and they end up going to the hospital when the disease has struck deep roots.
“Many people with suspected cancer do not show up for screening. They come to the emergency department with other complications at a late stage of cancer,” said Walsh.
Breast cancer is more common in the country, while the prevalence of lung cancer is also high.
The first video, titled “#QatarAgainstCancer”, features NCP’s Cancer Champions, who are a group of high-profile personalities in Qatar who endorse the programme, promote healthy lifestyles and encourage cancer screening.
It features Dera Al Dosari, media consultant for the Ministry of Youth and Sports and a TV presenter; Buthaina Al Ansari, HR Director of Ooredoo and founder and chairperson of Qatariat; Wedad Al Kuwari, distinguished Qatari writer and screenwriter known for her popular Gulf drama series; and Hassan Al Sai, a media personality known for hosting Qatar Radio’s ‘Watani Al Habib’ and Qatar TV’s ‘Al Dar’ programmes.
In the video, they urge people to “break the silence barrier” and ask them to come forward to fight cancer in the country.
In the other video, titled ‘I Pledge to Stand Up to Cancer,’ another five Cancer Champions take a pledge to take action to fight cancer in Qatar with the aim of raising cancer awareness in the country.
The video features famous Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi, Katara’s Public Relations Director Malika Al Shuraim, iLoveQatar’s co-founder Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon, who is also head of Interactive and Innovation at Vodafone Qatar, popular Qatari stand-up comedian Hamad Al Amari, and fashion designer Fahad Al Obaidly.
In the video, the Cancer Champions take a pledge to end myths about cancer and to seek medical advice when needed. Most importantly, the Cancer Champions pledged to spread hope and courage among those fighting the disease.
The videos are on YouTube, are being aired by Al Rayan TV and will be screened in cinemas across Qatar in September.
In October, NCP will hold a slew of programmes to raise awareness about breast cancer, especially in universities and at the Women’s Hospital.