Eastern Mediterranean University Medicine Faculty Dean Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora marked 4 February World Cancer Day with a statement released on behalf of the faculty. Stating that cancer is the most important health problem during the current period of time, Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora marked the disease as an important communal health problem due to its frequency and high mortality rate.
Prof. Dr. Gökçora put forth that cancer, after the cardiovascular diseases, is the second main reason for mortality in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. Adding that whilst the death rate from cancer was 15% in 1960s, the figure climbed up to 25% in 2013, Prof. Dr. Gökçora stated that in some countries, cancer is the most frequently encountered reason for deaths. Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora’s statement is as follows:
With the development of diagnostic facilities and the increase in benefitting from health institutions, more and more cancer incidents are diagnosed every passing year. There are over 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named after the organ in which they originate. The cancer development rate increases with age. Only 5% and 10% of all cancers are defined as hereditary. Environmental factors including smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and excessive exposure to sun provide answers to 90 to 95% of cancer incidents. (Health at a Glance, 2015 OECD report). Additionally, the occurence of cancer incidents throughout the world has been consistently increasing all over the world.
Basic Health Services play a very important part in the fight against cancer including prevention of cancer, early diagnosis and treatment and decreasing the burden of cancer. The primary preventive strategy is to minimise risk factors in the society including smoking, obesity and environmental factors. Secondary preventive strategies are the monitoring and screening programs of healthy individuals. In many countries, screening programs for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers are available. Tertiary preventive measures are practices serving towards the treatment and rehabilitation.
Having an idea about the cancer occurence rate and new cases will both serve as important data sources contributing to the health system. The best method of collecting cancer-related data is to establish cancer recording systems. This will ensure the delivery of effective and beneficial health services and help all sectoral levels be aware of each other as well as the community. Distribution of certain cancer types, sociodemographic qualities of individuals who have cancer (age, gender, ethnicity, religion, occupation and so forth), differences and changes taking place over time will all help determine the risk factors and development of cancer in the long run.
During the International Association of Cancer Registries (IACR) 2017 Congress which took place under the auspices of Netherlands and Belgium Cancer Registry Centers, cancer registry data based on two communities was shared through a presentation titled ‘Population-based Site –Specific Cancer Incidence Rates in North Cyprus’ by TRNC Cancer Registry Coordinators Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora, Sen. Dr. Figen Gülen İnce and project epidemiologist Assist. Prof. Dr. Mevhibe B. Hocaoğlu. The presentation of which our country is extremely proud took place through the support of the Turkish Republic Embassy and in collaboration with the TRNC Ministry of Health. Consequently, one has to state that information systems play an important role in our health system regarding the planning, allocating and transferring of resources, the prediction of possible increases or decreases in cancer rates as well as the development and application of preventive and monitoring programs.