Breast cancer is ranked first among cancer deaths in women at both West Bank and Gaza Strip, where 22% and 27% of cancer deaths were respectively the results of breast cancer.
A key solution to reduce breast-cancer deaths is finding and treating the disease at an early stage, thereby reducing disease-associated morbidity and mortality. Accordingly, MoH had to launch its national mammogram screening program as a cornerstone of breast cancer control. The program offered mammogram screening for women aged +40 years and younger women at risk with one mammogram machine only.
Based on a study by PNIPH in 2013 to examine the performance of the screening program, the mammogram e-registry was developed in close cooperation with MoH.
The mammogram e-registry is customized to follow-up 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 developing and enhancing the e-registry, including the following:
• 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 the breast cancer screening protocol so that 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 become easily accessible by radiologists, avoiding 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.