MoH report says 25% rise in cancer cases in Oman

Muscat - 

Oman had recorded a 25 per cent increase in the number of cancer cases in 2011 as compared to 2010, according to a latest report from the National Oncology Center and the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The report, ‘Cancer Incidence in Oman 2011’, stated that the total number of cancer cases registered in 2011 was 1,289. Of these 1,187 were Omanis and 102 were non-Omanis.

Dr Zahid al Mandhari, deputy director, National Oncology Center, said, “The incidence of cancer is on the rise, and it is expected to rise more as the study suggests. The study began from 1999, and the time lag gave us the opportunity to collect detailed information. Cancer is usually age-related - the risk of getting cancer increases with age.”

He further added, “There has been a remarkable improvement in health, and life expectancy has reached beyond the age of 70 in Oman, but this means the incidence of cancer will also increase significantly.”

The report further states that of the total 1,187 cases, 594 (50.1 percent) were male, and females accounted for 593 cases (49.9 percent).

Eighty seven cases were reported among children aged 14 years and below.

Breast cancer, lymphoma, leukaemia, colorectal and thyroid cancer were the five most prevalent cancers in Oman.

In men, the most common cancer is that of the stomach, followed by non-hodgkin lymphoma, leukaemia, prostate and lung.

Among women, leukaemia and cancers of breast, thyroid, cervix uteri and stomach were most common.

The incidence rate per 100,000 of the population was found to be the highest in Dhofar governorate at 75.1, followed by Muscat with 73.4, Musandam with 54.4, South Batinah with 49.7, North Batinah with 44.1, South Sharqiyah with 42.2, Dakhliyah with 41.6, Al Wusta with 38.9 and North Sharqiyah with 38.6.

“Earlier data increase was linear, but now it has to be recorded in percentages. This suggests a lot of things,” Dr Mandhari said.

He also hailed the efforts of the Oman Cancer Association in spreading awareness about the disease. 

“The association has played a vital role in spreading awareness in the society. But cancer still remains a tabooed subject for Omanis. Survivors can play a significant role in spreading awareness.”

The success of treatment is less in Oman as 50 per cent of the patients are in the advanced stages of cancer. It is however possible to prevent cancer with certain changes in lifestyle, he said.

“It is possible to prevent at least one third of the malignancies by changing one’s lifestyle, like reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, junk food and exercising more.

“In the long run we need to search for prevention and not cure.”

In 2012 the most common cancers diagnosed globally were those of the lung (1.8mn cases, 13 per cent of the total), breast (1.7mn, 11.9 per cent), and large bowel (1.4mn, 9.7 pre cent).

The most common cancers responsible for death were those of the lung (1.6mn, 19.4 per cent of the total), liver (0.8mn, 9.1 per cent), and stomach (0.7mn, 8.8 per cent).


Cancer facts

  • Cancers figure among the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2mn deaths in 2012
  • Lung, liver, stomach, colorectal and breast cancers cause the most cancer deaths every year
  • About 30 per cent of cancer deaths are due to behavioural and dietary risks
  • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer, causing over 20 per cent of global cancer deaths
  • Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20 per cent of cancer deaths in low-and middle-income countries Africa, Asia and Central and South America regions account for 70 per cent of the world’s cancer deaths
  • Annual cancer cases will rise from 14mn in 2012 to 22 within the next two decades

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