Sami: I told my family about my illness after recovery

I’m going to tell you my cancer story. Thank God, I am blessed with a new chance to live and survive after passing through a bitter experience , My story may be a turning point for a patient who lost strength and will. It will be inspiring for those patients consumed by disease and treatment.

My name is Sami. I come from Jordan. I moved to Doha in 2016 to start my own business and improve my children’s and my family’s material and social conditions. I was a kind father, responsible for the happiness and welfare of my family. I was an athlete, never smoked, and paid great attention to my health.

After I arrived in Doha, I began to feel a change in my right eye, although the external eye examinations did not explain why! However, an MRI scan did.

Here was my first shock when it turned out that the reason was the presence of some tumors in my brain. Later, cancer spread to different parts of my body: the liver, the adrenal glands, the lungs, and the spine, and a terrible nightmare began.

I never thought I’d start counting the number of days left for me in the world, and I never imagined myself in bed, waiting to die; I’ve had mixed thoughts about everything: parents, children, work .. etc.

Should I give in to sickness and death just like that? Should I open the door so easily for that monster to eat my body and my ability to live? During those days, I saw only death in front of my eyes. Death did not faint in my mind, so I was exhausted of this feeling until I stopped myself and asked, why do I think about death while I was still alive? Therefore, I resisted; I decided to co-live with it and put away every negative thought or slight idea that meant my life was ending. I would hide this dilemma from my parents and family. I did not want to overburden them or make them feel pain or sorrow for knowing my disease, so I decided to leave them to their lives and studies. Even my wife has burdens and responsibilities against kids and their studies.

I started the journey of radiotherapy, then chemotherapy. Have you ever heard about chemotherapy and its adverse effects? It has severe impacts on the body and psyche. It causes delirium, weakness, inflammation, diarrhea, depression, and several significant side effects.

Cortisone and radiation left their prints on my face and frail body. Questions by colleagues at work began to increase. My capability to work was decreasing. I found that people surrounding me offered their help. However, my decision not to inform anyone has never changed. I did not stop working, refused all assistance despite suffering from fatigue and pain, and endured all with love and conviction about God’s fate.

I continued with the chemotherapy for a while and liked to stay in the hospital despite seeing patients suffering everywhere around me. Nevertheless, I succeeded in making these hard times an opportunity to create a peaceful and thrilling atmosphere. I used to sit in the hospital garden to enjoy the open air and chat with nurses and patients. I was grateful to God that the center was free of sick children because I couldn’t bear to see a sick child.

I followed the treatment patiently and effortlessly, resisting and insisting. Little by little, disease began to decline, and victory was overcome. Medical reports showed positive results after the chemotherapy. In contrast, the stage of immunotherapy has started. Hope, vitality, and strength returned to my tired body, which was exhausted by the treatment.

I have become more upbeat and optimistic and look forward to the prospects of a better life free from cancer and treatment.

All this happens without telling anyone about my family. I endured a great deal of physical and psychological fatigue.

During that period, all excuses for not returning to my country and seeing my family during holidays and vacations are running out. My wife was inquiring why her husband was changing, so I had to tell her about my status and everything that had happened. She had never expected that I and death would be at a close distance.

My wife asked me to come to Doha immediately, but I refused and asked me to leave everything back and go to me. Still, I declined and convinced her of the necessity and importance of our stay in the same situation and continued my treatment, and she continued to take care of the children.

Thank God, I became better and better under the treatment I follow at the National Centre for Cancer Care & Research.

My advice to those afflicted by this disease is to adhere to treatment, not give up hope, and not heed other advice that others believe will cure cancer.

Having achieved an excellent result with immunotherapy, my presence in the center became less, and I recovered successfully. After a short period, I visited my family. I told everyone, especially my mother, but I reassured her that I was being treated in safe hands and that it was much better than being in any other place or country.

At this time, I decided to end this line of my life and start over another bright line and page. I came out of that experience a new human being reborn after my recovery, and my view of life was renewed, so that time became more valuable, as well as in the evaluation of relationships and work, and God only determines that death. Determination, will, desire to live, and trust in God is the way to recovery and not to think about death for as long as we live.

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A new strategic plan for QCS in the works: Dr Khalid

Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) is processing, preparing, and developing the strategic plan for 2025-2027 with Averroes company, QCS Chairman Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabr Al Thani has announced.

The project aims to formulate the Society’s strategic direction, determine the results and strategic objectives, prepare the strategic map, design performance indicators, and matrix, define the initiative matrix, and prepare the executive plan for the initiatives of the first year of the plan.

The QCS stressed that this development is based on the charity’s community role in cancer prevention, support for those living with the disease, professional development, and scientific research, and is consistent with the National Cancer Strategy. Under the umbrella of the charitable sector, it is starting a new phase of work using the results-based planning methodology and identifying its executive and operational initiatives and tools and follow-up to ensure effective implementation of the strategic plan.

This plan comes in conjunction with the near end of the charity’s strategic plan for 2018-2024 and the need to evaluate the performance of those years to identify the most prominent limitations, risks, and strengths, as well as the results and outputs on which the new plan is to be based, which will come as a continuation of its predecessor in achieving its three strategic goals. He added that the three strategic goals are raising community awareness of cancer, ways to prevent it, support, empowering, and advocacy for those living with the disease, and scientific cancer research.

He indicated that this year would represent a new qualitative leap in its work of caring for people living with cancer, as it will witness the launch of several digital initiatives that will support this group financially, psychologically, and socially. The charity has many sustainable programs that deal with this category, including “Our Children Are Gold,” “Your Smile Is Our Life,” “I Am a Survivor, and I Will Inspire You With My Story,” “Together We Can,” “Support Groups,” and “Community Participation.”

 

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Alison Stone; A Pap smear test was a reason for my recovery

My name is Alison Stone, and I have a PhD in Metaphysics, so I am often referred to as Dr. Alison Stone. I came to Qatar to open up a lady’s well-being center, and the reason that I took this journey of well-being and preventative medicine is that I was diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was 30. So, I attribute my success today to that incident many years ago. I have survived cancer for 27 years, and I think it is essential to see how things have changed in that period.

Here is a brief synopsis of my journey ;

I was married at 18 (in my generation, that was acceptable and normal), had two children, and when I was pregnant with my third child, I went for a routine check-up, and they discovered that I had lesions and they were cancerous. Now, one of the things that I was blessed with in the UK was that in the 80s and early 90s, Pap smears were becoming very accessible for women: they weren’t mandatory, and they weren’t encouraged, but they were accessible, so after the birth of my first daughter I had them done, so I continued getting Pap smears after the birth of my second daughter. Had I not been tested, I am convinced I would not be here today.

The cervical cancer that I had was very aggressive, and mine was mainly because I was pregnant at the time. The cancer had gone to my lymph nodes, so by the time I had delivered my child, I was in stage 4. I do feel very strongly about the need to be proactive with your health.

That experience forced me to look at my life and my control over it. The experience of the surgeries and the treatments that you go through has such a profound effect on you physically, but I think it is more the fear that has the most profound impact, and the fear I had 27 years ago was never addressed. So now, when I find out about societies like the Qatar Cancer Society in Qatar, I am so impressed and excited that women have this opportunity to be supported. Had we had something similar in my day, it might not have changed the outcome, but it would have changed the journey.

As a mother, back then, you would not know what cervical cancer was. And in my day, doctors did not understand that it was the human papillomavirus that caused cervical cancer. And so we suffered in silence. I remember on the fourth day after the surgery–about 14 hours of surgery–and I started to cry. I remember the nurse came in and said, “Stop crying. There are people worse off”. And I remember that I never spoke again. I never spoke about my pain, and I internalized it. So it was ‘keep a brave face, don’t speak about it, don’t talk about it,’ and when I look back now, I see how it took a good 10 or 15 years after that until cancer could be talked about openly. Now, having chemo and not having hair, we celebrate it; it’s ok, and I think that Social Media is a way for people to talk about their own experiences and raise awareness about cancer.

I chose to take control of my life, and I took a spiritual path – I was lost, and I was fearful, and I think that learning and things like meditation about your health give you back a sense of control. Because when you are diagnosed, and the doctor says, ‘You have cancer, it is in stage 4, this is serious’ – you hand everything over to them, and with it goes this feeling of hopelessness because now you are at the mercy of people telling you that ‘you have to have this surgery, you have to have this chemo, you have to have this radiotherapy,” but you don’t feel sick.

So, the growth of self-help groups has been positive since doctors are starting to understand that patients need to have some emotional care. As a patient, I am not just somebody who has had surgery and whose vital signs you will check – I have gone through something life-changing–a hysterectomy– and I might be facing the fact that I will never have children again, the fact that I might die and leave my children, the fact that my husband might never love me again, and I have scars everywhere – nobody addressed that. It was all ‘hush hush,’ don’t talk about it, or ‘You should be grateful you are alive.’ Now, I feel that people can talk about the cancer experience; they can address it.

I  think that the difference in Qatar (I was here ten years ago) is that nobody said the word nobody said that word, and women, therefore, especially Middle Eastern women who tend to put their children first, their husbands first, their sons first, would never even acknowledge having cancer, or want to know, that was the issue. I addressed a group of ladies in a Middle Eastern country 12 years ago, and we tried to convince them to get breast checks and pap smear tests, but they wouldn’t do it because they didn’t want to know. After all, they have fear, or they feel that sickness is based on divine intervention – and either way, they think they should surrender to it, and they don’t want to know. But the generation of women now, we can do something about it, especially the survivors. You can survive cancer, but that is a message that is never given out – you always hear ‘cancer death’ ‘cancer death’ – what about instead ‘cancer journey,’ ‘survival,’ ‘change,’ ‘power,’ ‘change in life,’ ‘change in perspective,’ ‘transformation’? There are a lot more positive words that can go with cancer, not just doom and death.

Not talking about cancer can be devastating – probably the most powerful memory I have about my experience is that I remember after my initial diagnosis from my doctor going home to my husband and when I told him and the look of fear in his eyes and then he shut down. I remember that they said I could terminate my pregnancy and that I had every reason to because my pregnancy would escalate the cancer, and I remember thinking, ‘What do I do? This will be the last chance to have a child because they are going to give me a hysterectomy. What do I do? And I again.

I told nobody about the look on my husband’s face and his inability to even respond to me. And so I carried that burden, which I am sure wasn’t healthy. I couldn’t even have the conversation about terminating my child or not because I didn’t want to reach out to anyone, because I didn’t want to see the fear again in somebody else’s eyes. And in those days, when you said the word cancer, you were met with silence. So I didn’t tell even my mother or anybody until after my surgeries. And then, when I was in the hospital, people started to visit. And I put on a very brave face to begin to deal with the fear because the fear I saw in other people’s eyes put fear back in me. But at least by then, I had gone through the process. In a way, keeping silent saved me because I could pretend it wasn’t happening. After all, nobody was talking about it. I fit into that era’s psyche: “Don’t speak about it; it doesn’t exist; let’s pretend everything is ok; just move forward.” Then, at night time, in the shower, you cry your eyes out.

I didn’t tell anyone about my illness, and I was in the hospital for about six or seven weeks. When I came out of the hospital, I asked my Mum to take care of me, so of course I opened up to her. I never told my daughters until they were 18 years old. I didn’t want them to be afraid that I was going to die. I did not want to put that fear into them. And I, not them, was preventing me from telling them. I always used the excuse that they were not old enough, and I didn’t want them to fear, but at the same time, I did want them to be proactive about cancer screening, so it was one of those challenges that I told myself: ‘I have to tell them.’ Two of my children have been vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus and regularly go for Pap smears. What I realized was that if I had dared to address it earlier, it is not that they would have gone earlier for Pap smears, but we could have had the conversations we had when I did eventually tell them. But my daughters have taken the situation on board, and nobody is afraid. I think the blessing in waiting to talk to them is that it is 22 years later, and they have only known me as a very healthy person, and now they understand the need to be proactive. As for everybody else, they avoided me. I lost contact with quite a few people after my illness. And I think some girlfriends were fearful because I was so young and healthy. That was the main thing: I was not a sickly person. I was healthy and had brilliant births.

But what the experience of illness has done for me is pave the course of my life since that time. My choices in development, self-development, and professional development have their basis in understanding and going through my journey. My Ph.D. is in metaphysics, and I am very keen on learning about epigenetics, which is the complete understanding that your cells are a reflection of your environment and not only your DNA, and so that is why they change. The internalization of fear and not taking care of yourself affects your genes too, which is fearful but empowering as well – it is fear because you ask yourself, ‘Did I do this to myself?’ but it is an empowering idea as well because whatever has happened to me, I have the power to change that environment. So therefore, again, having that supportive, nurturing, caring environment versus having that fearful environment is essential, which includes everybody else’s fear. Fear is quite toxic, and that can affect you too. That could affect your genes.

When I went for my surgeries, I was courageous. I took a breath and went in there feeling strong and brave. So I think the whole spiritual aspect to illness is faith, how strong faith is, what color it is and what it looks like to you, and how you can turn that into a physical element that walks you through that journey.

My illness made me a much better person, and it gave me a purpose in life – when I look at all the things that I had been planning before my illness and what my life has been like over the years, everything was about learning about care and preventative medicine. I have a bachelor’s degree in alternative medicine. A housewife with three kids – who would have thought it? I studied Ayurveda in India. Who would have thought that a homemaker would have done that? And I met the most incredible people who came my way. And I can look back and see that every single thing that I did without a plan, in reality, led me to get a Ph.D., to be in Qatar to build the women’s wellness center, to be connected, and to finally, after 27 years being able to tell my story someday.

Even in my 5th year being cancer-free, I was sweating and panicking – what if it has come back? This is interesting because you would not do that with any other disease. All of our terminology characterizes this disease as a beast, and once it has you in its grip, it is going to seize you, but if we could change the dialogue to an attitude of ‘let’s see how healthy you are’ or ‘your blood cells are fantastic today.’ Suppose we switched our approach to cancer and reframed everything, for example. In that case, we might say things like, ‘Let’s see if we can add you to our three-year list of cancer-free living,’ that would be a very different conversation about the disease rather than saying, ‘Let’s see if it’s come back’ or ‘let’s see if you are still in remission.’

I think that the medical profession could reframe the way it talks about cancer with patients. For example, changing phrases like ‘I am so sorry, but I think we need to see you…” or ‘we will only call you if there is something wrong’ – in simple terms, what the patient hears is, ‘we will only call you if you have cancer’ and you get a miscall, and you get upset, and you are waiting and waiting anxiously. Make the experience of going in for a check-up more positive, so I will want to return. Instead of telling patients, ‘You only have two months to live,’ why not tell them that the medical system will do the best it can, send them home, and ask them to focus on the quality of their life and their diet?

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Muhammad Mawloud: with family’s support, I overcame the challenges

Mr. Mohamed  Mawloud was living normally until he began to experience some strange symptoms one day. After undergoing all the necessary tests and a colonoscopy, he was found to have rectal cancer. He was told then that the next step would be to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Having no previous knowledge or predetermined notions about rectal cancer, Mr. Mohamed approached this news with the ideology that it was like any other condition that could happen to any person. His faith and trust in Allah dissipated doubts about what the future may hold for him. Even though the procedure was painful, he drew strength from the incredible support of his family, especially his sister. He went on to take a 1-year leave from his job to complete his chemotherapy course. Unfortunately, the body aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite he experienced as byproducts of the therapy forced him to leave his job.

Despite everything, Mr. Mohamed is relieved to have completed most of his treatment course. He is looking forward to his very last session, after which he can look for a new job.

Mohamed received radiotherapy and chemotherapy through the Qatar Cancer Society, which he got in touch with through Hamad Medical Corporation. He was delighted with the psychological support he received from the medical team, which positively influenced his well-being as he went through this challenging journey. While recalling what he learned, Mr. Mohamed pinpointed that patience was the most critical lesson he acquired from going through treatment. He advises everyone going through the same journey to comply, continue the treatment, and face it without fear of the temporary side effects that eventually go away. Finally, Mr. Mohamed reiterated that what helped him the most was praying and reading a daily verse of the Qur’an, which he described as “God’s cure to people.”

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The Gastrointestinal Cancers Congress begins with expectations of an increase in infection.

Under the Patronage of HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani – Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health – launched the International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers 2023, organized by Qatar Cancer Society during  December 1st – 2nd, 2023, at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha.

The Congress gathered more than 1,000 primary health care providers and a group of researchers. Academics and specialists in the field of gastrointestinal tumors worldwide, especially in America, Austria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon, and Jordan, In addition to the State of Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, and the Primary Health Care Corporation.

Over the two days, the Congress discussed all topics related to gastrointestinal cancers, risk factors, methods of diagnosis, treatment, and the latest international studies and research. It also discussed the most important reasons for the increased incidence of this type of cancer.

A global burden

His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabr Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar Cancer Society, said during his opening speech, “This Congress was held with expectations that incidence rates are to increase from roughly 18 per 100,000 to 34 per 100,000 by 2030, according to the Qatar National Cancer Registry – Ministry of Public Health in Qatar.

This Congress comes within the Qatar Cancer Society’s keenness to keep pace with global medical development. It makes Qatar a leader in cancer prevention and its burden control and provides all the necessary capabilities and support to control it locally. He added.

Recommendations

The International Congress came out with a set of recommendations, the most important of which are:

  • Establish Multidisciplinary Teams: Encourage institutions to form multidisciplinary teams, combining the expertise of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and nurse specialists for comprehensive GI cancer care.
  • Enhance Surgical Training Programs: Develop advanced training programs for surgeons, focusing on the latest techniques in the surgical management of GI cancers, including colorectal, hepatic, and pancreatic cancers.
  • Promote Precision Oncology Research: Advocate for increased funding and support for research in precision oncology to personalize colorectal cancer treatment, enhancing its efficacy and reducing side effects.
  • Implement Liver Transplant Protocols: Recommend the adoption of specialized protocols for liver transplantation in metastatic colorectal cancer cases, ensuring optimal patient selection and post-operative care.
  • Adopt Clinical Guidelines: Urge healthcare providers to adopt and integrate the Clinical Practice Guidelines into their treatment plans for metastatic colorectal cancer, ensuring evidence-based care.
  • Organize Public Awareness Campaigns: Initiate public awareness campaigns on the importance of early detection and screening for GI cancers, focusing on risk factors and preventive strategies.
  • Expand Access to Advanced Imaging: Facilitate more comprehensive access to advanced imaging technologies like CT-PET for accurate staging and monitoring of GI cancers, especially in under-resourced areas.
  • Foster Economic Research in GI Cancer Treatment: Encourage studies on the cost-effectiveness of various GI cancer treatment modalities to inform policy decisions and healthcare spending.
  • Enhance Patient Support Services: Establish comprehensive patient support services, including nutritional counseling, psychological support, and pain management, to improve the quality of life for patients with GI cancers.
  • Create Specialized Cancer Units: Advocate for developing specialized cancer units like the Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Unit in Qatar, focusing on targeted treatment and research in specific types of GI cancers.
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Under the Patronage of HE Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs : QCS hosts The Gastrointestinal Cancers Congress

Under the Patronage of HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani – Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qatar Cancer Society” QCS “will host the International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers2023  during December 1st – 2nd, 2023, at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, which is expected to gather more than 1,000 primary health care providers and a group of researchers. Academics and specialists in the field of gastrointestinal tumors worldwide.

HE Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabr Al Thani, founder and Chairman of Qatar Cancer Society, said, “The importance of The International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers comes from the facts this type of cancer represents a significant burden globally, both in terms of incidence and mortality. Gastrointestinal cancers account for 1 in 4 cancer cases and 1 in 3 cancer deaths globally. They encompass a wide range of malignancies, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus. Yet the burden they pose is matched by the opportunity to present the chance to radically transform the lives of millions through medical breakthroughs, innovative research, and collaborative care.

This congress has been approved as the CPD Activity: Category 1 –  by the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Healthcare Professions -for 9.00 hours. Registration will take place via QCS’s mobile application.

The conference is a global platform that brings together an elite group of specialists and experts in various fields related to gastrointestinal cancers from several countries, including America, Austria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, In addition to the State of Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, and the Primary Health Care Corporation….he added.

According to the Qatar National Cancer Registry – Ministry of Public Health in Qatar, the predicted increase in the disease burden with incidence rates is projected to increase from roughly 18 per 100,000 to 34 per 100,000 by 2030. He added.

HE Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabr said, “The conference will include two-panel discussions, the first one concerned with raising community awareness about preventing gastrointestinal cancers and targeting 100 people. There will be a medical exhibition in cooperation with some health authorities to provide free consultation services to the public, and the second session is concerned with people living with cancer and their families to talk about the importance of food during the treatment and recovery period, by hosting an elite group of specialists in this field.

 

His Excellency stressed the importance of community partnerships in supporting the charity’s plans. He specifically thanked the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Ministry of Public Health Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities, the Primary Health Care Corporation, Hamad Medical Corporation, Ooredoo, Katara Hospitality, Suhail Holding, Dukhan Bank, Ahli Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, Tasweer company.

 

Dr. Abdul-Azim Abdul-Wahab Hussein, Vice Chairman of Qatar cancer society “Gastrointestinal cancers encompass a wide range of malignancies, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus. Yet, the burden they pose is matched by the opportunity they present – a chance to radically transform the lives of millions through medical breakthroughs, innovative research, and collaborative care.

In 2020, colorectal cancers ranked second in cancer incidence. Amongst the Qatari population registered in the QNCR, there were 635 cases diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Of these cases, 28% have died and 72% are still alive. 54% of the patients were at a late stage. Liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancers ranked tenth in cancer incidence. Amongst the Qatari population registered in the QNCR, there were 246 cases diagnosed with liver cancer. Of these cases, 65% have died and 35% are still alive. 69% of the patients were at a late stage, according to the Qatar National Cancer Registry – Ministry of Public Health in Qatar. He added.

 

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Mohammed Shabaan: with patience and faith, I’m living with cancer

Mohammed Shabaan is a 55-year-old man who has always been on a healthy diet and followed a fitness regimen, describing it as a way of living. He has a small farm at home where he grows various kinds of fruits and vegetables. He has always been interested in the wide range of benefits these organic corps provide. For example, the Moringa tree is one of the crops he is harvesting on his farm; it reduces blood sugar and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

March 2017 was the time Mohammed described as the time he “dropped down.” this initially started as mild constipation, which he attributed to ingestion of pomegranate; however, the constipation was persistent and remained for ten days, and he decided to seek medical attention. He was given laxatives, but his condition did not improve. Then, he started having a sudden onset of vomiting, which was severe as he felt tired and energy drained. The accumulation of all these symptoms led to him not walking, so he called the ambulance.

Mohammed had multiple tests done; He had both CT and PT scans done, which concluded the potential of having Stage 3 Colon Cancer. He had never imagined this diagnosis as he thought these symptoms would be due to a fleeting cause, which can be resolved quickly and last a few days. As he requested, the news was brought to him in a friendly manner in the absence of his parents. Once Mohammed was informed about his diagnosis, the only thing constantly on his mind was the surgery and the complications that followed the procedure. He was ready to confront the struggles which are brought to him by his fate, which, in this case, had brought him cancer. “Cancer? I don’t care about it,” he said as I asked him about what he felt when the physician told him about his condition, prognosis, and management. Mohammed proved that each person could beat disease by learning how to cope with it.

He was constantly thinking about the complications he could avoid; one of these dreaded complications was temporarily placing a colostomy bag until a reconnection between the colon and the rectum healed. He was anxious and worried about the perspective of his friends and family regarding the idea of having an external bag for feces. He thought that this might ruin his image and reputation in front of them.

This discussion continued for a long time until the physician decided that an urgent surgical intervention should occur as the patient had a bowel obstruction, leading to fatal sequelae. The physician tried to insert a tube to remove all the poisons from Mohammed’s abdomen, but they could not. However, another surgeon arrived in Qatar that day and was called to the Operation Room (OR). This surgeon was determined not to leave the OR until he inserted the tube. Mohammed described him as one who has confidence and trust in god’s will. He could insert the box without any complications or danger to Mohammed. “These were all complications that only God knows of,” said Mohammed, believing that he was in a sophisticated situation leading to a path of his well-being and survival.

The removal of the poisons from his body took one and a half hours. He felt better and more relieved afterward. He had surgical excision of 80% of his colon and adjacent lymph nodes. This journey was described as crossing an ocean with strong tides against him, but he passed safely; however, as this ended, another battle was coming up against him: Chemotherapy. The side effects of the chemotherapy were very severe; he experienced diarrhea and weight loss – He had lost 20 kgs. Nevertheless, he was relieved that he reached a state of almost winning the battle against cancer; the side effects did not matter as he had passed two storms set by cancer, the surgery, and the chemotherapy. He knew that he had reached the winning line with himself leading.

He found his family and friends very supportive and understanding during that period. Although there was a negative stigma of having cancer, he noticed that he and his family changed and became more accepting; they grew to accept that cancer, like any other disease, can be treated and should not be considered as the closure of one’s life.

Eight months after the surgery, Mohammed developed an abdominal hernia; he sought treatment and gained more strength to face this new complication. He sought both physical and mental therapy. He “Never lost hope” and was able to live through this dreadful journey of fighting cancer and its following complications.

 

Cancer was an “uninvited guest,” but you must offer hospitality and welcome like any other guest. Thus, one should find a support group and habits that bring joy and happiness to embrace this disease rather than allow it to drain them. It would help if you did not let this monstrous disease take over your lives and consider it as something that is only passing by but is offering you a grain of strength and enlightenment, making you a stronger warrior. Cancer is the beginning of a new life, not the end.

The “Step of Hope” initiative was launched in collaboration with the Qatar Cancer Society and the National Center for Cancer Care and Research. This initiative aims to support individuals living with cancer and emphasize that cancer can be cured. Patients can practice their daily lives and highlight the importance of psychological and community support for this group to make the disease period and beyond easier and the importance of a healthy lifestyle of exercise and healthy food to prevent diseases, especially cancer.

During this initiative, I walked about 555 km on foot in the first phase and then completed the tour to cover 2022 km as a later goal. And we have chosen 2022 for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where I seek to walk about 25 km per day at a rate of five hours.

I want to emphasize that this initiative is an opportunity to strengthen the role of physical activity in the prevention of diseases, especially cancer, in line with the State Vision 2030 to improve human health, in addition to emphasizing the close relationship between cancer and mental status that may facilitate or prevent treatment.

 In conclusion, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to the Qatar Cancer Society as it has adopted the ” step of hope” its kind in the world, and all its efforts and support; this initiative is considered the first of its kind in the world, and I want to thank the Qatar cancer society for their hard effort and continuous support for me and success of this event.

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Minister of Social Development and Family visits Qatar Cancer Society

Her Excellency Maryam bint Ali bin Nasser Al-Misnad – Minister of Social Development and Family, visited Qatar Cancer Society and was received by His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabr Al Thani – Chairman of the Board of Directors.

During the visit, Her Excellency toured the charity and the Cancer Awareness Center. He was briefed on QCS and the center’s activities and their role in spreading cancer awareness through programs targeting all groups and segments of Society…

Her Excellency expressed her admiration for the charity’s efforts in promoting and disseminating the culture of early detection of the disease, raising health awareness and supporting those living with cancer, emphasizing the actions of the State of Qatar in supporting and strengthening the health sector and paying attention to the human resources as it is the essential pillar of community development.

On this occasion, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabr expressed his happiness with this visit, which will significantly impact the charity’s progress and awareness efforts. HE presented, during the visit, the activities of QCS to the Minister and highlighted its role in spreading awareness in the community AND supporting, empowering, and advocating for those with the disease.

His Excellency also reviewed ways to support and enhance QCS’s activities and programs and the Ministry’s active contributions in this charitable and health sector.Further, HE expressed the continuation of QCS since its founding in 1997 to achieve its vision to be a community partnership platform to make Qatar a leader in cancer prevention and burden control through its mission to prevent cancer and control its burden in Qatar by working with its partners to educate the community and to support, empower and advocate individuals living with cancer.

 

 

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Sheikha Al-Mannai: I realized the true meaning of life after recovery

My name is Sheikha Al-Mannai. I work as a TV and Radio presenter. I have been working as a teacher and a school principal since 1995. I resigned from my position as a school Principal of a governmental school in 2016, and I traveled abroad to explore myself and find a new passion. At first, I thought it was just a contusion, although it was not blue. I have learned in school how to examine my body. While checking my body, I found a tumor at the top of my shoulder that scared me. Initially, I suspected it could be a tumor because a barrier hit me during swimming. I initially neglected it for nearly four months as I thought it was just a contusion. I met a competent doctor who told me it would be better to subject me to ultrasound rays to see the content of this discoloration. He gave some medicines that might help to reduce inflation. Upon coming home, I decided to work in media. Two months after starting my new career, I became worried about the tumor because it had decreased in size after taking medicines. However, it had re-emerged. Therefore, I went to the Health Center that converted my health file to Hamad Medical Corporation the following day. I received a phone call from a health consultant that they had received my file and would identify an appointment for me.

The doctor went through a Clinical examination and said he suspected having a tumor. He asked me about my family’s disease history and children and whether I had breastfed them. After the first visit to the hospital, I was referred to the surgery department, which removed some lymph nodes for analysis. It took two weeks to get the analysis results. The result was positive for grade 1 breast cancer. I have not understood what happened for a while. I cried when I knew the result, not for fear of illness, but because I knew how my mother was frightened. My mother knew something was wrong, so I told her the truth. The doctor was the most prominent supporter. He told me that I needed chemotherapy followed by surgical treatment. He said to me that medicine is divided into stages. The healing process may be complex and critical. Any of them may result in hair and weight loss. What helped me during this crucial period was the remembrance of God Almighty, the observance of the prayers, and the reading of the Holy Qur’an. I swept grievingly, especially during prayers. I took the first chemotherapy dose at the National Center for Cancer Care & Research (Al-Amal Hospital). The smell of the treatment made me nauseous and tired. I asked the nurse how long the treatment might take, and the response was almost three hours.

My father and doctor used to accompany me on every treatment visit and were waiting for me throughout the treatment period in the hospital. They asked me to eat after treatment, and I refused because the medicine made me nauseous.

On the first dose of treatment completion, I went to my parent’s home; they insisted I stay with them during the treatment period because of my symptoms. I was taking treatment every twenty-one days. The biggest concern for me was the pain that happened to my mother. After treatment, she burst into tears because she smelled of treatment mixed with mine. She noticed that my mood was changing after treatment. Having completed the first treatment stage, I asked to complete treatment in a tranquil city like Qatar in terms of customs and habits. To avoid seeing myself in that sick state, I was converted to MD Anderson, where I was far from my mother. My brother accompanied me on my road for treatment. Before traveling, I had told some of my coworkers about my medical condition. I had not said any of them before because I didn’t want anyone to pity me.

My brother looked at my weak body piteously, and I asked him to stop because this pathetic way may result in more weakness and would not help. Living in Houston is considered the best-ever period of my entire life. I have not lived in the accommodation allocated to patients. Instead, I lived far from them to avoid the sympathetic sight of people. I decided on a day to stop using a wig. When my brother saw me, he went off without saying a word. I knew how he felt. Therefore, when he returned, he was shocked that I accepted myself. Physicians have told me it is temporary; you will return to your normality within nine months. I told my brother that I didn’t want him to look at me miserably, significantly, since the treatment differed. I took the medical dose every 21 days; I take it now weekly. A large number of breast cancer patients were there. Most of them were elderly and accompanied by their husband or sister. Their condition was more difficult than mine. For that reason, I realized that there is hope, and I must be brave and overcome the pain caused by chemotherapy with the help of God during treatment.

I rarely felt hurt because I insisted on keeping myself busy with sports, swimming, and cooking for my brother and neighbors. My daily schedule was crowded. I woke up at 10:00 a.m. to clean the house, put the clothes in the washing machine, do house chores ..etc. These little details mean a lot to me. It made me feel so accomplished instead of feeling sorry for myself. I persisted with my brother going out before treatment to have fun because I knew I couldn’t do anything the day after treatment. The treatment period meant a lot to me. It allowed me to realize the true meaning of family.

I became aware of the importance of having my family next to me. My mother, may God have mercy on her, and my father used to call me several times every day. My mother was very worried about me; she felt ill. Her heart became weak, and she became unable to speak. Psychologically, she suffered more than I did. I tried to show her I was okay and sent her pictures of me doing the housework, but she was still worried. Having arrived in the USA, my life changed completely. My faith became stronger; I used to pray Tahjud at night until now.

Moreover, I read Surat Al-Baqarah and morning and evening remembrances daily. I noticed how the speed of daily life makes us all get distracted and lose control of time, convincing us that there is not enough time for what we want to work on and occupying us with work that we think is more important. However, there is nothing more important than that a person takes time dedicated to himself to maintain his health and keep him connected to his Lord to feel God’s blessings in life. All of us need time to meditate on what we went through. It is important because the disease affects everything in a person’s life, no matter how small. Treatment affected my body and deepened my way of thinking. This experience made me shift my view from negative to positive and how I deal with life difficulties.

Now, I consider anything that may meet me in life easy, God willing. When a person relies on God Almighty, he will find an unnatural force that helps him face whatever happens. I have realized that nothing could be compared to cancer. I cannot describe myself as a cancer fighter. However, I combat cancer with the help of God Almighty. My illness was a test from God to see my patience and endurance. Allah says, “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” 02:286. God, the Highest, knew I could bear my illness, and I contracted this disease to realize my shortcomings. On becoming ill, I realized the importance of everything and became aware and appreciated what life gave me. I knew the value of health and family. My children and brothers have become closer. My daily routine took me away from my parents. I visited them daily, but I have never been close to them. I have discovered these things because of illness.

 

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Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabor receives WHO Representative

His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabor Al Thani – Chairman of Qatar Cancer Society – received Dr. Rayana Bou Haka – WHO Representative, Qatar – In His Excellency’s office yesterday to discuss ways of cooperation between the two parties through the implementation of several joint programs, as well as to shed light on QCS’s progress and programs through the World Health Organization.

The meeting discussed the latest developments in the issue of cancer control and in the field of supporting, empowering, and advocating for those living with cancer, as well as concerning professional development and scientific research in cancer. The meeting also presented the health care services available in Qatar concerning cancer, especially the charity.

During the visit, she toured the QCS Cancer Awareness Center and was given a brief of QCS programs targeting all societal groups, praised the charity’s efforts in promoting the culture of early detection of the disease, raising awareness, and supporting people living with cancer.

His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Jabor Al Thani valued the visit of WHO Representative, Qatar, which will positively impact the collberation.

His Excellency presented the charity’s activities and its role in spreading community awareness as well as supporting, empowering, and advocating for people living with cancer, stressed the continuation of  QCS  efforts to achieve its vision to be a community partnership platform to make Qatar a leader in cancer prevention and its burden control mission since its founding in 1997 by working with our partners to educate the community, support, empower, and advocate for individuals living with cancer, and engage in professional development and scientific research in the field of cancer.

H.E.  affirmed the charity’s keenness to keep pace with global expertise to develop its programs and plans, which would enrich its work through the exchange of ideas between specialists from various sectors and its implications for developing the field of awareness and providing the best ways and services, especially that QCS is a member of Union for International Cancer Control which is one of the largest global institutions. That gives On more responsibilities and the insistence on becoming an active member of a global health organiation at the level of the WHO.

 

 

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