Cancer Profile In The Eastern Mediterranean Region

Ivana KULHÁNOVÁ, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
BRAY F. 1 , FADHIL I. 2 , AL-ZAHRANI A. 3 , EL-BASMY A. 4 , ANWAR W. 5 , AL-OMARI A. 6 , SHAMSEDDINE A. 7 , ZNAOR A. 1 , SOERJOMATARAM I. 1

1 Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
2 Regional Office of the Eastern Mediterranean, Cairo, Egypt
3 King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 Epidemiology and Cancer Registry Department, Kuwait Cancer Control Center, Kuwait
5 Department of Community, Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
6 King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan
7 Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Purpose
Many countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR) are undergoing marked demographic and socioeconomic transitions that are increasing the annual cancer burden in each of the 22 countries. We sought to examine and illustrate similarities and differences in the national cancer incidence and mortality profiles as a support to regional cancer control planning in the EMR.
 
Methods
The incidence and mortality estimates by country, cancer type, sex, and age for 22 EMR countries were obtained from GLOBOCAN 2012. Numbers, rates (age-standardised per 100,000) alongside overall rankings of their magnitude are presented.  
 
Results
The cancer incidence and mortality vary considerably between countries in the EMR. Incidence rates were highest in Lebanon (rates of 204 and 193 per 100,000 in males and females, respectively). Mortality from cancer was highest in Lebanon (119) and Egypt (121) among males and in Somalia (117) among females. The profile of common cancers differs substantially by sex. For females, breast cancer is the most common cancer in all 22 countries, followed by cervical cancer, which ranks high only in the lower-income countries in the region. For males, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer in combination represent almost 30% of the cancer burden in countries that have attained very high levels of human development.
 
Conclusions
The most common cancers in the EMR – lung, and other smoking-related cancers, colorectal and female breast cancers are largely amenable to preventive strategies by primary and/or secondary prevention. There is therefore an urgent need for the implementation of effective interventions tackling smoking behaviour, encouraging physical activity and a healthier diet. The high mortality observed from breast and cervical cancer highlights the need to break the stigmas surrounding these cancers and improve awareness that will increase female participation in screening programmes in the region.
 
Funding source
WHO EMRO Action Plan