Photo of a cancer patient for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sharjah: The three-day Combined Gulf Cancer Conference (CGCC), hosted by UAE-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP), will start on Monday at Al Jawaher Centre for Receptions and Conferences in Sharjah.

A lineup of speakers, including scientists, researchers, policymakers, health experts and others will discuss the critical challenges and strategies in early diagnosis and cancer care, as well as ways to enhance cancer control in the Gulf region.

Under the slogan ‘Continuity of Health Care to Combat and Address Cancer’, the fifth edition of the conference is being organised in partnership with the Gulf Federation for Cancer Control and Gulf Centre for Cancer Control and Prevention (GCCCP). It will see the participation of Dr Khaled Ahmed Al Saleh, general-secretary of GCCCP, as well as ministers of health from all six GCC countries.

speaker line-up for cancer care conference in sharjah
The event will bring together 50 speakers from the UAE, region and many other countries Image Credit: Supplied

Cancer experts Dr Elisabeth Weiderbas, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer from France, and Professor Richard Sullivan, professor of Cancer and Global Health at King’s College London, Director of the Institute of Cancer Policy (ICP) and Co-Director of the Conflict and Health Research Group will highlight innovations and implementation gaps in cancer control.

50 speakers, 500 delegates

The CGCC will bring together 50 speakers and more than 500 delegates. The opening day of the conference will shed light on the cultural and socio-economic barriers in seeking medical advice, participating in screening programmes and barriers to cancer prevention efforts.

Anil D’Cruz, director, professor and chief, Department of Head and Neck, will share his research outcomes on finding ‘Timely Data & Evidence for Global Cancer Prevention Efforts’.

Dr Soe Tee Tan, from the Gillis Macindoe Research Institute in New Zealand, will offer insights on the efficiency of treating patients by targeting cancer stem cells.

Dr Andre Carvalho, scientist in the Early Detection, Prevention and Infection Branch from France, will talk about the ‘Barriers and Evidence-based Interventions for Increasing Participation in Screening Programmes’. Humaid Al Shamsi, President of Emirates Oncology Society, will address the audience on the ‘Cultural Barriers to Cancer Screening in the Arab Region’.

Delivering ‘impactful messaging’

Dr Fiona Ness, director general for Communication, Engagement and Information Development at the National Centre for Screening Services from Ireland, will talk about ‘How Can Media Support Effective Communication to Deliver Impactful Messaging’.

Dr Naveed Madani, Senior Scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute from the US, will talk to the audience in a session titled ‘The Face of Diseases: The Influence of Media on Cancer Education and Prevention’; while Clements Chauvet, Head of Strategic Engagement and External Relations at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) from France, will highlight the effectiveness of mass media campaigns to increase knowledge and awareness about cancer.

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Social acceptance

Themed ‘Social Acceptance to Early Detection and Cancer Screening: Barriers and Opportunities’, the second day of the CGCC will see experts and specialists at the conference analyse the stigma, barriers and behavioural aspects that are challenging awareness efforts in the GCC region.

Experts addressing the conference will include Dr Al-Fateh Abdel-Rahim, HIV specialist and health and development policy specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from Turkey; Professor Giles Devens, Director of the Department of Surgery at Cromwell Hospital, UK; Thomas Hofmarcher, Director of Research at the Swedish Institute Health Economics from Sweden; and, Professor Alistair Frey, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Cromwell Hospital, UK, in addition to a discussion session moderated by Dr. Saleh Al-Othman, from the Gulf Cancer Center.

Survivorship challenges’

‘The last day of the CGCC conference themed ‘Living with Cancer: Survivorship Challenges’ will offer insights from Dr Sami Al Shammari, palliative medicine consultant at Fahd Medical City in Riyadh, Dr Bassem Al Bahrani, former director of the National Oncology Center at the Royal Hospital in the Sultanate of Oman, and Farzana Al Majid, CEO and Managing Partner of Transform Alliance.

Experts will also explore the intersection of palliative care and survivorship and delve into the shared progress, challenges, and opportunities through the lens of the GCC society. Ali Saeed Al-Zahrani, Executive Director of GCCCP, will moderate an interactive panel discussion highlighting the impact of the cancer pathway and lessons learnt during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More information on the agenda and speaker is on the conference website.