Dubai – Incidences of cancer in the Middle East region including the UAE is on the rise with the number of cases expected to double by 2030, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
In the UAE alone, according to the last figures released by the Health Department of Abu Dhabi, there are 4,500 new cases of cancer each year with breast, colorectal and lung cancers acquiring top spots.
According to the key performance indicators on cancer provided in the National Health Agenda 2021, based on the 2013 figures provided by the WHO, cancers claim 78 deaths per 100,000 people. The target for 2021 is to reduce the mortality rate (by 18 per cent) to 64.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
Not all countries are equal in terms of resources and resolve in combating cancer rise in the region and the War on Cancer Middle East conference held in Dubai this week focused on the main challenges to putting a proper blueprint in place to fight the scourge.
Vivek Muthu, chief adviser of the Economist Intelligence Unit that organised the event, cautioned that a proper and well-thought strategy for documenting data, preventive screening, sustainable financing, quality treatment protocols and high standards of palliative care were required to be established to get safe and successful patient outcomes.
Muthu was presiding the third edition of the conference which was first held in Hong Kong in 2015.
“Obesity, poor awareness of cancer, environment, bad lifestyle choices and cultural issues like fatalism are some of the challenges of cancer in the region and we have to remember three things — system, sustainability and outcome — which are the three most important tools in this war,” said Muthu as he opened the daylong conference with a panel discussion with specialists from the region.
Dina Mired, head of the Union for International Cancer Control, highlighted a number of challenges faced by the region during the panel discussion. “There have been 555,000 new cancer cases and 330,000 mortalities since 2012 in the region which has highly developed countries and some poverty-ridden nations facing the additional burden of the refugee crisis as well. The number is set to double by 2030, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Over 70 per cent of the people in the region are dying of cancer and we need to meet the challenge by dealing scientifically with it.” -firstname.lastname@example.org