A new clinic that provides a multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer care, known as triple assessment, is improving the outcome for patients with breast cancer in Qatar. The Breast Care Clinic, opened at Hamad Medical Corporation’s National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) earlier this year, provides patients with a special evaluation that is currently the international gold standard for breast cancer diagnosis. It involves a series of diagnostic tests, including a clinical breast examination, breast imaging, and a core biopsy if a lump is found.
“Triple assessment is a one-stop shop which better serves a patient’s needs as it reduces the time required for diagnosis and speeds up the treatment process. It is a very useful diagnostic tool to evaluate patients with breast lumps and to detect breast cancers,” said Dr. Amal Al Obaidli, Deputy Chairperson of Clinical Imaging Services at NCCCR.
Dr. Salha Bujassoum Al Bader, Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist at NCCCR and Chair of the Breast Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) added that the new clinic reinforces HMC’s practice of evaluating and treating breast cancer using a multidisciplinary approach.
“Our clinical approach ensures a flawless treatment process for patients. Specialists from across different branches of medicine come together to make joint decisions and share treatment responsibilities with the ultimate goal of providing the patient with the best treatment available,” said Dr. Al Bader.
Another outcome of the multidisciplinary approach is increased screening for patients who have been identified as ‘high risk’ due to a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. The High Risk Breast and Ovarian Multidisciplinary Cancer Screening Clinic opened in March 2013 and is the first clinic of its kind in the region.
Dr. Al Obaidli says that identifying individuals at increased risk of hereditary cancer can lead to early detection and prevention opportunities. She added that women need to become informed about their own personal risk factors and must take an active role in safeguarding their breast health.
“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is an opportunity to remind women and their families about the importance of breast health and early detection. A simple screening test (mammogram) can be a life-saving tool and the key to successful treatment,” explained Dr. Al Obaidly.
Women aged 45 and above are encouraged to speak to their physicians about breast cancer screening. It is also recommended that you speak with your doctor if you notice a lump in your breast or notice changes to your breast shape, size, skin, or nipple. Dr. Usama Al Homsi, Senior Consultant with the Oncology Department at NCCCR added that women must be their own health advocates.
“Sadly, everyone knows someone who has been touched by breast cancer. No woman is immune; breast cancer can strike at any age. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your risk is doubled and a comprehensive conversation with your doctor is a must,” said Dr. Al Homsi.
For more information on HMC’s breast cancer awareness campaign, including the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and breast screening in Qatar, visit www.hamad.qa/EN/your health/bcac/Pages/default.aspx or follow us on Twitter @HMC_Qatar, Instagram @HMC_Qatar or Facebook www.facebook.com/hamadmedicalcorporation