Doha, 20 April, 2019: According to data from the Qatar National Cancer Registry (QNCR) at the Ministry of Public Health, brain cancer is the eighth most common male malignant cancer in Qatar, accounting for 4.48 percent of total cancer cases. In 2015, 48 people were diagnosed with malignant brain cancer in Qatar, with around 60 percent of these cases requiring surgery.
Brain cancer is an overgrowth of cells in the brain that form masses called tumors. Cancerous or malignant brain tumors tend to grow very quickly. While the primary brain tumor can begin directly in the brain, the secondary brain tumor, often called a metastatic brain tumor, starts in other parts of the body and spreads to the brain. Brain tumors disrupt the way the body works and can be life-threatening.
The neurosurgical team from Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Neuroscience Institute performed around 140 brain surgeries in 2018, many of which were for brain tumors. Commenting on the treatment options available at HMC, Dr. Ahmed Own, Head of the Neuroscience Institute at HMC said surgery remains the most common treatment for brain cancer.
“Patients with brain tumors have several treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. However, surgery remains the most common treatment option with around 60 percent of cases undergoing surgical intervention. For higher-grade tumors, treatment usually begins with surgery and is followed by both radiation therapy and chemotherapy,” says Dr. Own.
“To meet the high demand for surgery and to ensure a high-quality service for brain cancer patients, the surgical team at HMC has expanded its capacity, adding three more surgeons to the existing four; all with strong experience from the United States, Canada, and Germany. The number of surgeries for brain tumors has increased significantly but the outcomes are remarkably successful,” added Dr. Own.
Dr. Own further explained that each brain tumor case is discussed individually, with each patient receiving their own treatment plan created by a multidisciplinary team composed of healthcare professionals from different specialties, including oncologists, pathologists, and radiologists.
Dr. Sirajeddin Belkhair, Head of the Neurosurgery Department at HMC, explained how the neurosurgery teams utilize a navigation system that helps them precisely identify the location of the tumor.
“An advanced intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine in the operating room is also available and patients can have a brain MRI while having surgery to identify if there is any part of the tumor remaining. Our team is supported by highly skilled anesthesiologists who are specialized in their field to avoid any possible complication that may develop as a result of the anesthesia,” noted Dr. Belkhair.
“After discharge, our neurosurgery coordinator will secure appointments for the patient to be seen by other doctors. Patients who have undergone surgery will also have the option to call the neurosurgery hotline if they have any questions,” concluded Dr. Belkhair.
In line with its mission to deliver the safest, most effective and most compassionate care to each and every one of our patients, HMC is raising awareness about brain cancer to mark Brain Cancer Awareness Month, which is recognized in April every year.