Obesity, Diabetes, and Breast Cancer Nexus in the MENA Region


Tuesday, February 28, 2017 (All day) to Wednesday, March 1, 2017 (All day)


Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery–Dubai
Obesity, Diabetes, and Breast Cancer

One of the focus areas of the Harvard Dubai Center for Global Health Delivery–Dubai is obesity and diabetes. Diabetes is on the rise globally: the number of people with diabetes has increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Two studies recently published in The Lancet reported the global trends in diabetes and obesity: the first revealed that the MENA region had the second highest rise in age-standardized adult prevalence of diabetes compared to other regions in the world. The second reported that obesity prevalence in the MENA region has surpassed 30% in both men and women in 2014.

Metabolic conditions, including obesity and diabetes, are important risk factors for the development of several types of cancer. For instance, in a meta-analysis of 20 studies, Larsson et al. reported that women with diabetes were 20 percent more likely to have breast cancer compared to women with no diabetes. This relationship is critically important for countries that have high and rapidly rising diabetes levels, where there is a need to establish systems for early identification of at risk individuals and their effective management.

The “Obesity, Diabetes and Breast Cancer Nexus in the MENA Region” workshop explored the nexus and the implications for the health systems of countries in the MENA region in designing effective health care delivery solutions. The workshop provided an overview of the burden and context of breast cancer in Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. Furthermore, the workshop presented the preliminary findings of the health systems functions of these countries and the current challenges in breast cancer care.

The workshop concluded that there is a need to identify system approaches to address breast cancer care in the MENA region in the entire continuum of care (prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship). A recommendation from the meeting was to foster future collaborations with the Center to develop new knowledge and capacities related to health care delivery in the MENA region.

Number of Participants: 35
Countries Represented: Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and United States of America