US Chargé d’Affaires William Grant and Dr Salih al-Marri, Assistant Minister of Health Affairs at the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) illuminated the embassy building in pink in honour of breast cancer awareness month and to raise awareness about how early detection of all cancer types can save lives. The embassy will be illuminated pink throughout the month of October.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in Qatar, accounting for 40 percent of cancer cases in women. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, worldwide. One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
Speaking on the occasion, William Grant said: “Cancer can be beaten. Early detection through screening is critical. That is why the US Embassy in Qatar is proud to join the Ministry of Public Health and other Qatari partners to raise awareness about breast cancer and all cancers during the month of October. We encourage people to know and understand breast cancer symptoms and see their healthcare provider for early screening tests.
“This month we also celebrate survivors of the cancer – there are more than 3.5 million survivors of breast cancer in the US alone.”
Talking to Community, William Grant said: “We all know that pink is the colour that represents breast cancer awareness in October. It is very popular in the US and you see various signs of pink colour everywhere. In Qatar, we decided to do this because we are in a busy street and we know that the people will notice.
“With this idea, we want to convey the message of the Ministry of Public Health that cancer can be cured. People need to know about the danger signs of different kinds of cancers. They need to get screening done where it is available for all types of cancer. If you do that, you can prevent the worst impact of the cancer. The message is ‘screen for life.’ That is the message we are promoting through illumination of the embassy.”
Responding to a question about co-operation between Qatar and US in the healthcare sector, William Grant said: “We have a lot of co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health. The minister is in the US right now and she will have lots of meetings with government officials. Even more important is the connection between various hospitals and health institutions in US and Qatar. They have the expertise. We have the institutes that have very good experience and they share the experience with Qatar.”
“At the Ministry of Public Health, we are delighted to have the US Embassy participate with us in the cancer awareness campaign,” said Dr Salih Ali al-Marri. He pointed out that the Ministry of Public Health, the health sector institutions, and many other partners are organising a public awareness campaign throughout the month of October to raise awareness of breast cancer and highlight the importance of early screening.
All women in Qatar aged 45 years and above are encouraged to get screened for breast cancer, noting that since the launch of the programme in February 2016 through August 2019, over 30,000 women were screened for breast cancer.
Dr al-Marri also stressed the important role the survivors of cancer play in raising awareness of breast cancer, as evidenced by the statistics of the National Cancer Registry which indicate that survival rates have increased relatively in recent years reaching almost 90%.
He encouraged women to adopt a healthy lifestyle, be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, undergo breast cancer checkups regularly and book for mammography screening annually.
The US embassy staff will participate in a number of events throughout the month of #Pinktober to raise awareness about various cancers, including breast cancer. William Grant will be tweeting throughout October about activities in Qatar on his handle @USAmbQatar.
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