The Fight against the “Human Disaster” of Cancer in the Middle Eastern Countries

Manal Al-Zadjali and Michael Silbermann*

The Fight against the “Human Disaster” of Cancer in the Middle Eastern Countries.

Cancer is considered to be one of the leading causes of death globally. With the
increasing prevalence of cancer, the World Health Organization expects cancer cases
to surge in the next two decades from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million in 2022. Tremendous efforts are exerted world-wide to fight this “human disaster”.

An important example of such efforts is the International Palliative Care Conference
sponsored by Turkey’s Health Ministry in Ankara during April 2-4, 2014, highlighting the Turkey’s 13th
National Cancer Awareness Week.

Organizing bodies were the Middle East Cancer Consortium, in collaboration with the Oncology Nursing Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

More than 70 participants from the following countries attended the conference: United States of America, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestinian, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Sultanate of Oman, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The population in the Middle Eastern countries, as in all other countries worldwide, is aging. Simultaneously, the risk of cancer and cancer prevalence is increasing, presenting a major challenge to the healthcare system. Meeting this challenge requires the availability of planned and organized palliative care.

Palliative care is a medical service that is delivered to people with life-threatening disorders, aimed at improving quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care services are provided by a multidisciplinary team to patients at any
stage of life and illness.

It is a relatively new field in the Middle Eastern countries; however, it is available in one form or another in almost all of these countries either as an individually established service unit or as an integrated service.

Palliat Med Hosp Care Open J. 2014; 1(1): 4-7. doi: 10.17140/PMHCOJ-1-102