NYMC Faculty Publications

Influence of Age on 2040 Cancer Burden in the Older Population of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries: Public Health Implications

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Cancer Control

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Second Department

Family and Community Medicine


INTRODUCTION AND STUDY AIMS: The underlying population of global regions varies widely and is a major determinant of regional cancer differences. The aims were to: (1) estimate the cancer burden in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in 2040 for the ≥70 population and (2) assess the public health implications for this cancer increase.

METHODS: We used Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN) estimates of cancer incidence and mortality for people aged 70 years or more in GCC countries from 2018 to 2040 from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. For population growth, we used data for the same period from the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. From these, we calculated the predicted increase in the number of cancer cases and cancer deaths from 2018 to 2040 and the proportion of cases/deaths represented by those aged 70+ for the 2 time periods.

FINDINGS: In the GCC countries, the predicted number of newly diagnosed cancers and cancer deaths in the older population will increase by 465% and 462% respectively due to demographic changes-greater than other countries in the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Region, or in countries of similar economic development. The largest predicted increases will be for Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Based on the predicted population age, cancer burden among older people in the GCC countries will increase by approximately 460%.

CONCLUSION: By the year 2040, the relationship between cancer and age will cause a 4- to 5-fold increase in the cancer burden in the GCC. These predictable changes will require additional planning and resources to provide appropriate healthcare.