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Cancer patients increasing in Gulf countries: Report

The Gulf countries marks an alarming rise in the number of cancer patients, according to a recent report.
The number of cancer patients in the GCC countries stood at 119,288 cases during 1998-2009 and the number is on the rise, said Executive Director of the Gulf Center for Cancer Prevention, Dr. Ali Al-Zahrani
In his statement released prior to the GCC’s upcoming conference on “Burden of Cancer in the Gulf Region” to be held on Tuesday, Dr. Al-Zahrani said the conference aims to highlight health complications related to cancer that have stricken both developed and underdeveloped countries.
According to him, cancer is the second biggest cause of death in the world.
The GCC Ministers of Health and the Gulf Center for Cancer at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) in Riyadh are organizing the International Medical Conference (IMC) under the aegis of the Acting Minister of Health Adel Fakeih to focus on the increasing numbers of cancer patients and their impact on the economy of the Gulf countries. The theme of the conference is “Bridging the Gaps” and will be held at the King Faisal Hall, Riyadh Intercontinental Hotel.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tawfiq Khoujah, conference president, said one of the objectives of the event is to examine the impact of the growing incidence of cancer on the economy of GCC member countries and how early detection and screening of cancer patients for immediate treatment could be helpful in terms of saving the cost of treatment.
Dr. Koujah, who is also the Director-General of the Executive Office of the Council of Health Ministers in the GCC region, said that the high-profile event will review strategies for integrated treatment, and the role of those responsible for primary health care in the prevention and control of the non-communicable disease.
This will also enable public health awareness programs in the prevention and early detection of cancer through the development of research programs in the Gulf region and the establishment of a network for effective cooperation between oncologists, scientists and supporters of health care in the Gulf region.
According to Dr. Khouja, the biggest challenge in the treatment of cancer in the region is the need for a qualified and trained workforce to overcome the severe shortage of qualified medical personnel. They also need specialists in this field from the Gulf region as part of an integrated team (medical-nursing-diagnosis-therapeutic surgeons — radioactivity and rehabilitation).
He called for making optimal use of the resources not only to reduce costs, but also to facilitate the patient’s access to high quality health care on a continuing basis.
He added that the increased focus on health care has many benefits besides reducing the cost of treatment. Other advantages include better health care facilities for all members of the family.

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