The emergence of cancer globally as a threat to public health will be the subject of an upcoming Academic Health System lecture to be delivered by John Bartlett, a Professor of Medicine at Global Health and Nursing department at Duke University Medical Center, USA.

Duke University Medical Center is also known as Duke Medicine, which is one of the leading academic health systems in the world. The lecture will be the sixth in a series bringing the latest medical research to Qatar to improve patient care, and will be held on Tuesday 5 November 2013 at Women’s Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

Cancer comprises a number of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Qatar is implementing a National Cancer Strategy built on the best international evidence to address cancer across the health and education sectors and through the full continuum of services from awareness through to prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and care. Professor Bartlett said:

Worldwide, between 2005 and 2030 the number of cancer cases diagnosed yearly will increase from 7.6 million to 11.4 million. Almost 80% of the new cases in 2030 will be in low, or middle-income countries…globally, the greatest number of deaths from cancer is due to breast cancer in women, and lung cancer in men. In cancer prevention the best outcomes are offered by screening and early diagnosis, and almost 30 percent of all deaths from cancer could be avoided by changing key factors that increase a person’s risk of cancer.’

Key factors responsible for these increases may include increased life expectancy and lifestyle risk factors such as cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity and exposure to toxic environments. Professor Bartlett said:

The main challenges for global cancer include health promotion for cancer prevention among the public, screening and early detection, improved treatments, and palliative care. There are extraordinary opportunities to address each of these factors, and thereby impact public health and suffering due to cancer…there are also fantastic research opportunities from understanding how cancer cells are created to studying methods to promote the integration of research findings into the delivery of care.’

During his visit to HMC, Professor Bartlett will also conduct a Multidisciplinary Grand Round for clinical staff to discuss ‘Access to Care: Global Challenges and Solutions’.

Professor Bartlett is the Associate Director for Research of the Duke Global Health Institute, and helped to establish Duke’s Global Cancer Program – a collaboration between Global Health and Cancer Institutes. The recipient of numerous US National Institutes of Health research grants, Professor Bartlett has written on HIV-associated malignancies in Tanzania, and efforts to establish cancer registries and cancer care and research programmes in low and middle-income countries. He is also Professor of Medicine at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Tanzania.

The Academic Health System in Qatar – a first within the MENA region – is a dynamic nationwide network integrating research, education and clinical care to focus on improving patient care and deliver innovative healthcare solutions. The eight partners working collaboratively in the AHS include HMC, Sidra, WCMC-Q, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, the Primary Health Care Corporation, Qatar University and University of Calgary-Qatar.