Breast cancer is ranked first among cancer deaths in women in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
A key solution to prevent breast cancer deaths is early detection and treatment, thereby reducing disease-associated morbidity and mortality. Accordingly, the MoH launched its national mammogram screening program as a cornerstone of breast cancer control. The program offered mammogram screening for women over 40 years old, and younger at-risk women with one mammogram machine only.
In 2013, PNIPH conducted a study to examine the performance of the screening program, and developped the Mammogram e-Registry in close cooperation with the MoH.
The mammogram e-Registry is customized to monitor and track information about all women undergoing mammogram screening. The patient file is then saved at a centralized electronic system that notifies patients of their forthcoming appointments via SMS, increasing women’s participation in the program.
Several activities and interventions have taken place as part of the development and enhancement of the e-Registry including:
• Training MoH doctors and radiologists on the e-Registry and collecting their recommendations for breast-cancer related matters, such as the need to upgrade the national cancer registry and breast cancer screening protocol so women aged 40-50 are screened every year and women aged 50-60 are screened every two years
• Training more female physicians from all districts on reading mammography films, which significantly raised the effectiveness of the program
• Making breast images digital so they are easily accessible by radiologists, addressing the issue of limited film availability
The national Mammogram e-Registry is now considered by policy makers and health strategists as a credible, accurate, and timely source of mammography screening data in Palestine. Such data is unquestionably vital for adopting evidence-based measures to improve women’s health in Palestine, most importantly in relation to breast cancer.