Dr. Al Sulaiman’s pioneering work was completed while she was studying at Regent’s University London and focuses on women’s experience with breast cancer and the factors that might contribute to their psychological distress. It also explored the benefit of crisis counseling and psycho-education to improve patients’ psychological well-being, quality of life, and treatment compliance. The study, which was conducted at NCCCR, is thought to be the first of its kind in Qatar.
Dr. Salha Bujassoum, Senior Consultant, Hematology and Oncology, and Director of the Breast Cancer Program at HMC was one of Dr. Al Sulaiman’s research mentors and said the inclusion on the UK list is a notable achievement.
“This prestigious recognition highlights the commitment, determination, and ambition of HMC staff in pursuing the vision to continuously enhance the experience of our patients while also contributing to the provision of evidence-based care for patients with all types of cancer, including breast cancer; breast cancer is the most common cancer in Qatar and worldwide,” said Dr. Bujassoum.
“The research results confirmed that women need to learn how to cope with the physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes associated with cancer, as well as with medical treatments that can be painful and traumatic. It showed that psychological interventions have a significant impact on the compliance to treatment and on the patient’s wellbeing,” added Dr. Bujassoum.
Dr. Suhaila Ghuloum, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and another core mentor for Dr. Al Sulaiman’s research study stated that this research project is particularly significant because it was driven by a healthcare provider who identified a gap in the service and sought to fill it with evidence-based interventions. Dr. Ghuloum said the study also highlights the importance of counseling and psychoeducation as an inherent component of the management plan for cancer patients.
Dr. Al Sulaiman said she was proud to be recognized and noted that her research would not have been possible without the support of her colleagues.
“I am so proud of this recognition. This is one of my greatest achievements. I would never have been able to accomplish this without the support of my local mentors at HMC, especially Dr. Bujassoum and Dr. Ghuloum, in addition to my international mentors. I would also like to thank HMC’s Medical Research Center (MRC), with a special thank you to Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, HMC's Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Director of Medical Education for his support,” said Dr. Al Sulaiman.
“The findings of the study are important as they have provided robust evidence on the factors that contribute to women’s psychological distress, including fear of social stigma, body image, and interfamilial relationships. The study also provided evidence of the significant role of psychotherapeutic interventions in improving women’s psychological wellbeing, quality of life during their treatment journey, treatment compliances, and beyond,” added Dr. Al Sulaiman.
Dr. Al Sulaiman’s study has resulted in a number of important recommendations and clinical psychologists at NCCCR have started to implement the study’s screening tools and interventions in their care of women with breast cancer. There are also plans to implement these models for other cancer patients. In addition, more work will be done to focus on the risk factors that contribute to women’s psychological distress by raising awareness of the factors that lead to distress for both patients and their families.
Dr. Al Sulaiman’s study has been presented at several local and international conferences and was presented at the well-known oncology conference, European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) held in October 2018 in Germany.
Doha, 7 July, 2019: A research project led by Dr. Reem Al Sulaiman, Assistant Professor and American Board Certified Genetic Counselor at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) has been named one of the UK’s one hundred best breakthroughs for its impact on the lives of breast cancer patients.