Expect steep rise in cancer cases in Oman
January 31, 2018 | 10:16 PM
by Madiha Asif / [email protected]
Unhealthy lifestyle, eating fast-food, not exercising at all or enough, smoking, and uneven eating patterns are some of the reasons for the rise.

Muscat: Cancer cases are likely to double between 2020 and 2025 in Oman , according to Dr Wahid Al Kharusi, president of the Oman Cancer Association (OCA).

“There are a number of reasons for a rise in this deadly disease: obesity, unhealthy life-style, consumption of fast-food, not exercising at all or enough, smoking cigarettes/sheesha, and uneven eating patterns,” Dr Al Kharusi pointed out.

The most common type of cancers that are on the rise in the Sultanate, according to Dr Al Kharusi, are breast, colorectal, thyroid and lung. “Some 20 per cent of diabetic patients who are mainly obese are suffering from colorectal cancer,” stated Dr Al Kharusi. “Lung cancer is on the rise due to the consumption of cigarettes and sheesha. One puff of sheesha is equal to smoking 10 cigarettes,” the doctor noted, adding, “The presence of estrogen in women’s bodies combined with smoking causes cardiac arrest.”

“Currently, 40 per cent of cancer cases are caused by smoking,” added Dr Al Kharusi.

The association, along with other entities, is working on creating more platforms to educate people about the disease as well as raise awareness on leading a healthy life-style. “We are trying to bring down the number (of cases) by devising more awareness programs that will help educate the masses about cancer, which in turn will, hopefully, bring about some change.”

Dr Al Kharusi said, “Our main target is not only to bring down the number of patients but to diagnose all types of cancers at the earliest stage – ideally at stage 1, as you can completely cure a person without complications during this stage.”

Due to the increasing population in the Sultanate, the association is facing problems in accommodating new patients in the hospitals, the doctor stated. “Our hospitals are full of terminally ill patients, which causes a lot of difficulties in treating new patients coming in at stage 1 who need to be treated immediately.”

“OCA is working closely with the Ministry of Environment and the Municipality in the Muscat Governorate, seeking ways to prevent and control cancer,” remarked Dr Al Kharusi. The aim of the association is not only to treat cancer patients and promote a healthier lifestyle to reduce the incidence of the disease but also to provide patients, survivors, and families moral and psychological support during their tough times.

“We aim to provide extensive support to both cancer patients and survivors, as well as work to reduce the negative socio-economic impact on families,” Dr Al Kharusi noted.

OCA and its partner, the National Oncology Centre, will host more than 4,000 cancer control experts from more than 140 countries in October 2020 at the World Cancer Congress and the World Cancer Leaders’ (WCLS) Summit. The two entities, along with its associates the Oman Convention Bureau and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, won the bid for the 2020 UICC (International Union for Cancer Control) Congress and the 2020 WCLS in Muscat over Sao Paulo, Brazil, in May 2016.

The key objectives of the summit will include “raising awareness among leading decision makers to ensure cancer is a global health priority; providing a forum to exchange information and innovative ideas on how to reverse the cancer epidemic and ensure a sustainable response; defining compelling messages to support the global call to action against cancer; and creating a force which galvanises politicians and policy makers and increases cancer’s visibility on the international public health agenda,” states the official website of the WCLS.

Simple ways to combat cancer

Exercise a minimum of three times a week

Have regular health examinations & tests once a year

Avoid smoking for at least two hours after a meal

Always consume fruits before meals

Drink water at least 20-30 minutes after a meal

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