Muscat: Lung cancer, a disease with which 97 per cent of the diagnosed are smokers, is expected to become the most common cancer in Oman in the next five years, said Dr. Basim Al Bahrani, director of oncology and head of medical oncology at the Royal Hospital.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference on the first GCC Cancer Awareness Week which will kick off on Monday in Nizwa.
Cancer treatment consumes more than 30 per cent of the drug budget of the Royal Hospital.
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According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Health (MoH), the monthly cost of cancer treatment in Oman government hospitals can reach OMR30,000 per year for each patient.
The latest statistics of the National Oncology Centre showed that number of visits in the outpatient clinics reached 19,103 in 2015, recording an increase of 10 per cent compared to 2014.
In Oman, there are 600 cancer patients for each one million population, said Al Bahrani while adding that number of cancer patients in the Sultanate is expected to increase in the forthcoming years due to several factors, including wrong food habits, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and drinking alcohol.
“By 2040, we will be likely expecting more than 3,500 cases of cancer every year,” he added.
Meanwhile, the detected cancer cases in Oman stood at 1,314 (1,212 Omanis and 102 expatriates), according to latest figures by the National Registry of Tumours.
The median age at diagnosis was 53 years while 87 cases were reported among children aged 14 and below, accounting for 7.3 per cent of the total number of patients. Oman is the fourth country among the GCC nations in registered cases of cancer.
Till date, breast cancer is the most common among females while prostate cancer is the most common cancer among males in Oman. According to the MoH, cancer is the third leading cause of death in Oman after car accidents and heart diseases.
The Sultanate is taking part in the Gulf Cancer Awareness Week planned to be held in the first week of February every year. The celebration of Cancer Week comes according to the recommendations of the Executive Board of Health Ministers’ Council for GCC States.
The aim of this Gulf Cancer Week was to raise health awareness about risk factors leading to cancer, encouraging people to follow a healthy diet and indulge in physical activity, apart from raising awareness about early cancer detection and chances of recovery.
40/40 is the logo for the year 2016 based on a scientific concept. It refers to the fact that 40 per cent of cancer diseases can be prevented by following healthy lifestyle, adopting sound nutritional habits, adhering to physical activity regularly and maintaining an ideal weight, whereas 40 types of cancer can be cured through early diagnosis and providing appropriate treatment in time.