The Section and Screening Group Head of International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr R Sankaranarayan giving a presentation on ‘Implementation of national programmes for screening and early-detection of cancers — Challenges and Opportunities’ during the regional meeting on Cancer Control and Research Priorities in the Eastern Mediterranean Region at the Marriott Hotel in Doha yesterday. (Salim Matramkot)
DOHA: Only few countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region have a population-based cancer registry. Of the 22 countries, only nine have national cancer registries, a conference here on cancer was told yesterday.
Studies on cancer survival are also limited in this region with a concentration on selected types of cancer, according to a paper jointly authored by R Sankaranarayanan, Dr R Swaminathan and Dr M Al Nsour.
The two-day regional meeting on cancer control and research priorities in the Eastern Mediterranean region was hosted by the Supreme Council of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The paper drew attention to the important gaps in knowledge about cancer survival. Completeness in mortality registration system is lacking, both in terms of the number and certification of causes of deaths.
Also, linkage of mortality and morbidity registry databases is inadequate or limited. Hence, there is deficiency in mortality ascertainment of cancer cases.
There is also the lack of a follow up system to get data on vital status (alive/dead) or disease status (with or without disease) for cancer cases, said the experts.
Very few cancer registry data from the region were part of The Cancer Incidence in Five Continents (CIS) series of monographs. As a result there is a need to check and improve the quality of data.
The experts proposed to make cancer as a “notifiable” disease either by law or by an administrative order that is binding to all health care institutions for complete coverage of cases.
They also called for efforts to capture accurate staging and treatment data for cancer sites such as breast, colo-rectum, head and neck, etc., in the existing and new population-based cancer registries.