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INTRODUCTION

Gulf Center for Cancer Control and Prevention (GCCCP) is a KFSHRC collaborating Centre with the Gulf Health Council (former name; Office of the Executive Board for Health Ministers’ Council in the GCC Countries which includes; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman, and Yemen). GCCCP was established in 2011 with chief mandate of developing and supporting the Gulf Cancer Control Program. GCCCP was profoundly involved in the establishment of the Gulf region cancer control and prevention strategies to provide foundation for the development of comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated national approach to cancer activities and services in all GCC member states and to ensure implementing high quality of care and prevention of cancer using research, training, education, and public participation. The latest revised 10-year strategy (2016 – 2025) emphasized on the importance of launching and maintaining strong and efficient primary and secondary prevention programs and initiatives.

Cancer is a major public health problem in developed and developing countries. It is the second leading cause of death worldwide. The global incidence of cancer was 14 million in 2014 and expected to rise to nearly 23 million by 2030. In Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region cancer incidence is predicted to rise by 2 folds during next decade. Rapid improvement in healthcare together with the control of communicable diseases, increased life expectancy at birth, along with socioeconomic changes in modified lifestyles such as increased prevalence of tobacco use, decrease in physical activity and increased consumption of unhealthy foods resulted in increased incidence of cancer in the gulf region.

WHO reports that 40% of all cancers can be prevented, another 40% can be cured if diagnosed early and treated promptly. Therefore, fighting against cancer demands integrated approach between primary, secondary, and tertiary medical care. A significant challenge will be in providing workforce required to manage cancer with most countries in the region facing severe shortage of specialists including; oncologists, pathologists, radiotherapists, and personnel to operate other related services.

We aim at this conference to address local, regional, and global experiences on mass and opportunistic cancer screening programs in light of WHO recommendations in order to advance our knowledge and generate regional recommendations on cancer screening programs. The proposed two-day conference will be an opportunity for Saudi as well as other Gulf States representatives; healthcare providers and cancer control experts, decision makers, economists, non-governmental organizations and public activists to exchange their experience in cancer screening as a significant tool in reducing economic and social burdens of cancer care in the Gulf region.