Internationally renowned colorectal cancer experts last week gathered in Doha for the 5th Qatar Colorectal Conference, hosted by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).The conference was attended by over 300 local and international delegates and presented the latest findings in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of the disease.
Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health, attended the event’s opening ceremony along with Dr. Abdulla Al Ansari, HMC’s Acting Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Al Ansari thanked Her Excellency for attending the conference and commended the work of the organizing committee.
“This annual conference allows our colorectal healthcare specialists to collaborate with international experts from a number of countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom to discuss practical ways in which we can enhance the quality of our healthcare services to best benefit our patients,” said Dr. Al Ansari.
The three-day conference also helped raise awareness about colorectal cancer, a sometimes non-symptomatic disease, and the availability of screening services in Qatar. The National Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening Program, Screen for Life, was established by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) as an outcome of the National Health Strategy. The program is the first of its kind in the region and aims to raise awareness of breast and bowel cancer and to reinforce the importance of early and regular screening.
According to Dr. Mohamed Abunada, Lead Colorectal Surgeon at HMC and Chairman of the Conference, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Qatar and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the country.
He added that the disease can be caused by a number of factors, including environmental conditions, family history, consumption of high protein and fat-rich foods, alcohol, and smoking.
“Colorectal cancer doesn’t have early warning signs, so it’s important for patients to undergo regular screenings at their designated Primary Health Care Center,” said Dr. Salwa Sayed Ahmad, General and Colorectal Surgeon at HMC.
“As the disease progresses, people may experience blood in their stool, have pain in their belly, constipation or diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, or fatigue. Unfortunately, by the time these symptoms appear, the disease is more difficult to treat,” he added.
The 5th Qatar Colorectal Conference featured keynote addresses from UK-based Professors Amjad Parvaiz and Tahseen Qureshi, Dr. Rodrigo Perez from Brazil, Professor Ayman Agha from Germany, Andre D’Hoore from Belgium, Dr. Runjan Chetty from Canada and Professor Frederic Ris from Switzerland.