King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center Observe World Cancer Day


On the occasion of World Cancer Day which coincides on the 4th of February every year, the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center launched today an educational awareness campaign entitled “Your Life, Your Choices…Choose Your Health.”

The campaign, which will run for the entire month of February, aims to increase awareness among Jordanians about the importance of taking preventive health measures against cancer. Studies have shown that 40% of cancer cases can actually be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating healthy foods, exercising, quitting smoking, and taking cancer screening tests for early detection.

On this occasion, HRH Princess Dina Mired, Director General of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) remarked “This campaign targets every household and every individual in order to increase awareness about cancer. Most people are under the impression that cancer is a disease that cannot be prevented, and that we can do nothing to minimize the risk of getting it, but the reality is that 40% of cancer cases can actually be prevented by making a few simple choices to live a healthier lifestyle. This is a significant percentage that we must not ignore, and every individual must take it upon themselves to do all they can to minimize the risk of getting cancer.”

Dr. Ahmad Al Yousefi, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Jordan and the Acting Director of the Jordan Country Office, asserted that cancer is considered the leading cause of death globally, causing 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancers are the cause of most of the deaths that occur every year from cancer.

Dr. Al Yousefi said that the slogan for 2012 World Cancer Day “Together it is Possible” was a great example of highlighting the need for the entire world to come together in order to reduce unnecessary deaths from this cancer and other non-communicable diseases. “Every individual, organization and government has an important role to play in this regard. WHO and the International Agency for Cancer Research are making the focus this year on screening and vaccinations.” Dr. Yousefi added “It is possible to reduce the number of deaths from cancer if discovered in its early stages and treated immediately. Diagnostic and early detection programs are essential in places that lack the necessary resources and where people are diagnosed with cancer in its late stages when it is too late for effective treatment. These early detection programs use population tests on people with good health to detect signs of cancer or previous signs of infection, in order to be able to detect cancer faster and accelerate the diagnosis and treatment stage.”

Dr. Feras Hawari, Director of the Cancer Control Office at the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC), commented “The Cancer Control Office is currently working on developing a strategy based on an in-depth analysis of the cancer burden in Jordan, and how to fight it. The focus in the first few years will be on increasing awareness about cancer and how to avoid and minimize the risk of cancer. Other ways we will be tackling the cancer burden is to conduct scientific research so that we can produce a wealth of data about cancer, and cooperate with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization to determine the gaps in the health system we need to address related to cancer and how to improve such services.”

The Director of the Directorate of Non-Communicable Diseases at MOH Dr. Mohammed Tarawnah confirmed that the five most common cancers in Jordan according to the 2009 National Cancer Registry are: breast cancer, with a total of 942 cases (19.6% of all cancer cases), colon and rectal cancers with a total of 554 cases (11.5%), followed by lymphomas with 385 cases (8.1%), leukemias at 303 cases (3.6%) and finally 229 cases of lung cancers were diagnosed (6.2%).

Dr. Tarawnah also commented that 231 childhood cancer cases (under 15 years of age) were diagnosed in Jordan (in 2009) with 136 boys and 95 girls diagnosed. Childhood cancers made up a proportion of 4.8% of total cancer cases diagnosed in Jordan for that year. A breakdown of cancer cases diagnosed in children is as follows: Leukemias (36%), brain and nerve cancers (24%), lymphomas (27%), kidney cancers (7%), and adrenal gland and other glandular cancers (6%).  Dr. Tarawnah also added that that the prevalence of cancer cases according to governorates was determined as such: Amman with 59.8% of cancer cases diagnosed, Irbid (13.2%), Zarqa (10.5%), Balqaa’ (5.0%), Karak (2.3%), Mafraq (1.9%), Jerash (1.2%), Madaba (1.7%), Aqaba (0.9%), Maan (11%), Ajloun (1.3%) and Tafila (0.8%).

World Cancer Day is a global initiative launched by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which aims to reduce the rate of cancer by increasing awareness and lobbying governments and individuals to take the necessary measures to effectively fight cancer. UICC also established The World Cancer Declaration in 2008 and managed to persuade the United Nations (UN) to make the topic of non-communicable diseases a top priority. This culminated in a high-level meeting at the UN in September 2011, of which the focus was non-communicable diseases and in which high-level officials from all over the world participated. HRH Princess Ghida Talal, Chairperson of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center participated in the high-level UN meeting as a special envoy, and HRH Princess Dina Mired took part as a civil society representative.

The high-level meeting at the UN concluded with the following recommendations: reduce the prevalence of cancer cases by focusing on the dangers of smoking, promoting a healthy lifestyle through a healthy diet and exercise, increase awareness about the importance of cancer screening tests for early detection, make cancer treatment more available, and develop palliative care.

The King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center are currently working to implement the recommendations of the UN high-level meeting through various activities, including awareness and educational campaigns about cancer.



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