Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Gastroenterology consultant from St Mark’s Hospital in the United Kingdom, Dr. Laith Al-Rubaiy, recently returned to his hometown of Basra to assist setting up Iraq’s first bowel cancer screening program which will help save thousands of lives.
It is Dr. Al-Rubaiy’s fourth visit to Iraq in recent years where he has previously worked alongside his brother, a GP in Basra, running a mobile health clinic.
“The biggest challenge we face is a lack of public understanding about bowel cancer and cultural taboos, especially among women,” said Dr. Al-Rubaiy.
The aim of this screening program project is to train a small group of doctors and nurses to deliver the bowel cancer screening program based on the UK model.
The screening program will also provide public workshops and seminars to increase awareness of risk factors, red flag symptoms and the importance of early detection and screening for colorectal cancer.
“There is a renewed sense of optimism in the country after several decades of conflict and there is momentum to start cancer screening programs which we are keen to support,” added Dr. Al-Rubaiy.
Dr. Al Rubaiy’s initial visit included meeting with public health officials and doctors to discuss preventative health behavior, early detection and screening, and referral for treatment in one of two designated health centers.
The screening program will invite adults aged 55 years and over to do a stool test to look for any trace of blood in the stool which will require further investigation to rule out bowel cancer.