News & Announcements

EMPHNET Hosts its 30th Webinar in the EMPHNET WEBi Series

Sunday, May 28, 2023 3:00 AM

Accurate cancer burden assessment is vital for effective national cancer control planning and improved healthcare systems. Thus, population-based cancer registries (PBCRs) play a crucial role in providing accurate cancer incidence data for planning and evaluating control measures. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), which has seen a rapid increase in cancer burden, only 14 countries have PBCRs, and most of them are of low quality. To address this gap, the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR) led by the International Association of Cancer Registries (IACR) supports EMR countries through the Izmir Cancer Registry in strengthening their PBCRs. This regional hub covers 29 countries and territories in Northern Africa, as well as Central and Western Asia.


To discuss this topic further, EMPHNET held a webinar titled “Cancer Registries in the EMR” on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.


The 90-minute session conducted by three subject experts in the field namely: the Scientist, Cancer Surveillance Branch, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Dr. Ariana Znaor, MD, MSc, PhD, the Founder and Chair of the Eastern Mediterranean Non-Communicable Disease Alliance, Dr. Ibtihal Fadhil, and Associate Professor at Balıkesir University, Faculty of Medicine, the Principal Investigator for the Regional Hub for Cancer Registration in Northern Africa, Central and Western Asia, Prof. Sultan Eser. Furthermore, the session was moderated by Technical Specialist, EMPHNET, Dr. Randa Saad.


In her presentation titled “Cancer Registries and Global Cancer Surveillance”, Dr. Ariana Znaor introduced the IARC, by emphasizing its mission to promote international collaborations in cancer research and prevention, particularly in low and middle-income countries. She highlighted the three main tasks of the IRC's Cancer Surveillance branch, which include: providing technical support and training for cancer registries, compiling global indicators and databases using registry data, and conducting descriptive epidemiology research.


Dr. Znaor also spoke about the Cancer Incidence in 5 Continents. This comprehensive book, which has become an essential source of cancer registry data worldwide, provides a collection of comparable data on cancer incidence. The publication undergoes a rigorous review process by the CI5 editorial board to ensure the inclusion of high-quality data.


In addition to registry data, Dr. Znaor discussed the importance of using estimates for understanding the global burden of cancer. The IARC utilizes the best available sources of information, including cancer registry data, to produce estimates of cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence for different countries. These estimates are crucial for assessing the global burden of cancer and for future projections and planning.


In her presentation titled "Exploring the Role of Cancer Registries in Cancer Control in EMR" Dr. Ibtihal Fadhil highlighted the significance of cancer data for informing effective cancer control strategies. Dr. Ibtihal shed light on the crucial role of cancer registries in understanding the impact of cancer, monitoring prevention and treatment programs, and enhancing survivorship care. She emphasized the importance of comprehensive cancer data to guide policy decisions and interventions. She also confirmed that cancer registries serve as a valuable tool for tracking cancer incidents, evaluating screening and immunization programs, and identifying underserved populations, and that the availability of accurate data enables countries to assess the effectiveness of cancer control measures and tailor interventions accordingly. However, challenges exist in implementing robust cancer registries in the region. Limited resources, including funding and technical expertise, pose obstacles to maintaining high-quality and accurate data.


Dr. Ibtihal mentioned that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were commended for their endorsement of the WHO's recommendations on developing National Cancer Control Plans. The establishment of the GCC Registration Center has further enhanced cancer registration efforts in the region, aiding in the collection of valuable data over the past two decades.


In the third and final presentation, titled: “The Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR) & Izmir Hub”, Professor Sultan Eser stated that the (GICR) project, which aims to improve cancer registration worldwide, focuses on global coordination, establishing regional hubs, and collaborating centers to support cancer registries. These hubs provide training, technical support, and advocacy for sustainable cancer registration in their respective regions. Prof. Eser discussed the GICR net, which is a train-the-trainer model that forms subject-specific networks for delivering regional courses and providing support to registries. She highlighted online learning resources and e-learning facilities available through the GICR website and best practices portal.


Prof Eser went over the activities of the Izmir Hub, which serves Northern Africa, Central and Western Asia, along with some other countries outside this region. These included training courses, visits, and collaborations with other countries in addition to hosting visitors, organizing courses for specific teams, and conducting site visits to generate recommendations for improvement. With the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Izmir Hub adapted virtual activities, including staging and data quality courses, cancer registry training, and the launch of the child GICR. Prof. Dr. Eser also acknowledged the presence of population-based cancer registries in most countries within the region and emphasized their importance for accurate data analysis.


Following the presentations, Dr. Randa Saad facilitated the Q&A session, where participants and panelists engaged in the discussion. She then concluded the session by thanking the speakers and the attendees for their participation.


A total of 110 participants attended the webinar, deeming it another success in the EMPHNET WEBi Series.

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