Iran pioneer in cancer innovation, research among Islamic countries

February 29, 2020 - 16:41

TEHRAN – Iran has the most research and innovation in the field of cancer both in the region and among Islamic countries, deputy health minister Reza Malekzadeh has stated.

Referring to the great progress in cancer research, he said that “We have been able to play a role in this area globally.”

He added that one of the hopes for early detection of cancer is the use of urine and blood tests for people who are susceptible to cancer.

“We have conducted researches in the field of blood and urine biomarkers, which will help control cancers in the country," he said.

According to WHO, to assess the test’s ability to detect the mutations in urine samples before any clinical symptoms of bladder cancer occur, World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) researchers collaborated with the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran and the United States National Cancer Institute to design a unique pilot study within the Golestan Cohort Study. A team of researchers at Iran University of Medical Sciences for the first time in the world has managed to detect bladder cancer up to 10 years before clinical diagnosis and early tumor formation in asymptomatic healthy individuals.

Led by Malekzadeh, the team has been able to detect the disease early in urine samples by examining a somatic genetic mutation.

According to WHO, to assess the test’s ability to detect the mutations in urine samples before any clinical symptoms of bladder cancer occur, World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) researchers collaborated with the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran and the United States National Cancer Institute to design a unique pilot study within the Golestan Cohort Study.

Cancer patients increasing annually

Pointing out that there are about 250,000 cancer patients in the country, Malekzadeh noted that 50,000 people die each year from the disease and 125,000 new patients develop cancer, so that the number of people with the disease increases each year.

In 2014, some 125,000 Iranian have been diagnosed with cancer, of which about 52 percent were male and the rest were female, and we anticipate that the number of cases will reach 150,000 by 2025, and during this period, there will be more than 5,000 cases annually, he explained.

He went on to say that 380,000 deaths occur every year in the country, of which about 122,000 are premature deaths, or nearly 40 percent of deaths happen to people aging 70 or less.

Among the premature deaths, 34,000 are related to cancer, he lamented, adding, 11,000 people aging less than 50 years lost their lives due to cancer.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths, or one in six deaths, in 2018. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men, while breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and thyroid cancer are the most common among women.

Iran’s cancer registry system the most accurate

The cancer registry system is one of the most accurate one in the world, and we are the most advanced in the field of cancer in the region, Malekzadeh highlighted.

There has not been a precise cancer registration system in the country since four years ago, which is the most important infrastructure for cancer control to know which cancers are most common in the country and how to prevent and treat them, he concluded.

The Comprehensive Cancer Registry Program, which covers about 100 percent of the population, is now being published in collaboration with the medical universities with its detailed annual reports.

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