HMC’s pioneering genetic programme helps people mitigate cancer risk

HMC’s pioneering genetic programme helps people mitigate cancer risk

QLNews
By QLNews

Over the years, the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has put in place numerous ground-breaking programmes that have helped improve the quality of healthcare for Qatar’s residents.

The latest addition to these initiatives is a pioneering genetic cancer programme, by HMC’s National Center of Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), which is helping significantly curb cancer incidence among high-risk populations.

The programme, which empowers individuals genetically predisposed to cancer with unprecedented insights, enables them to proactively explore targeted options that can effectively reduce their inherent risk.

With the world seeing a rising rate of cancer cases, NCCCR’s innovative approach is a crucial step towards cancer prevention and personalised healthcare strategies.

“Due to recent developments in precision medicine and genomics, we can now identify individuals at increased risk of cancer due to hereditary predisposition. We can now provide them with appropriate genetic counselling and risk-reducing strategies,” Dr Hind Hassan Habish, a specialist internist in high-risk medical oncology and a member of the Cancer Genetics Team at NCCCR, wrote in NCCCR’s newsletter News and Views

“Carriers of mutations that increase their risk of cancer are offered management options to reduce their risk through education and awareness, clinical examination, surveillance, chemoprevention, and prophylactic surgery,” added Dr Hind.

She said NCCCR established the genetic cancer programme to reduce cancer incidence in high-risk populations.

Although cancer is a multifactorial disease, germline mutations in cancer predisposition genes are responsible for about five to 10 percent of cancers.

“The programme at NCCCR has comprehensive services, including the High-Risk Medical Oncology clinic, where unaffected, high-risk individuals — at increased risk for cancer due to cancer-predisposing germline mutation — are offered risk-reducing strategies,” wrote Dr Hind. 

Medical data proved that intensive surveillance and prophylactic measures offered to those at high cancer risk could minimise this risk.

“During the initial clinic visit, cancer risk is explained to the patient, and the options to reduce this risk are discussed. Often, the patient chooses between surveillance with imaging screening, using medications to reduce their cancer risk, or prophylactic surgeries,” she said.

High-risk medical oncology clinic patients are referred to other medical departments for screening and surgery if indicated.

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