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Cancer cases to double by 2025, says Oman Cancer Association chief

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Muscat: Cancer cases will double in the next 10 years, the Oman Cancer Association (OCA) has warned.

During a press conference to announce the 2017 annual Walkathon to support cancer patients, Dr Wahid Al Kharusi, chairman of OCA, reiterated the need for raising awareness about cancer.

“The number of cancer patients will double between now and 2025, and so raising awareness is very important,” Dr. Al Kharusi said. The strategy of the walkathon is intended to leave an impression on children and the youth that cancer is not a dangerous disease or a calamity if it is diagnosed early.

“We want to tell people that cancer is not just a disease that can kill, we want to show that there is life after being diagnosed,” said Dr. Manal Al Zadjiali, a member of the OCA board.

Sometimes, the type of cancer that is prominent in society depends on the environment that the society is exposed to. “In 1970, stomach cancer was the most prominent type in Oman because of salted fish we used to consume, and now even though colorectal is the leading type of cancer among men, lung cancer will overtake it soon, due to the shisha young men are consuming regularly.”

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health on cancer in Oman, “Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women between the age of 35 and 54.” In accordance with the association’s October 2017 Pink Ribbon Initiative, the association will set up stands in five malls, every weekend.

“There will be a clinical breast examination room, which will be private. It aims to teach women how to self-examine,” Dr. Al Kharusi said.

The walkathon is significant because it helps eradicate the stigma towards cancer in Omani society. “The walkathon is very important for the cancer patient, the survivors and their families, when they see a big number of people leaving their homes, in unity with this case, this helps them realise that they are not alone, this helps tackle some of the stigma,” said Nasser Al Azri, secretary general of OCA.

The support for cancer has undoubtedly increased over the years. “When we started the walkathon two years after the establishment of OCA, there were 270 in the first one, by last year 7,500 participated,” added Dr. Al Kharusi. OCA is also working on a new programme that will deal with patients in their last stages of treatment.

Meanwhile, the Oman Cancer Association (OCA) has announced that it will host its 14th walkathon in support of cancer patients on October 31.

“The 14th annual event will take place October 31st, 2017 at the Qurm National Park at 4 pm, where people will walk over three kilometers in support of those with cancer,” a spokesperson said.

Dr. Wahid Al Kharusi, Chairman of OCA, reiterated the need for raising awareness about preventative measures against cancer.

“The number of cancer patients will double between now and 2025, raising awarness on cancer is very important, ” Dr Al Kharusi said.

OCA will be selling shirts and caps where the proceedings will go to Dar Al Hanan, an association dedicated to help young children with cancer.

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