Posted: March 22nd, 2023

Trends in Thyroid Cancer Incidence in the Gulf Cooperation Council States

Thyroid Cancer


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Thyroid cancer is a common type of malignant endocrine tumors globally. According to GLOBOCAN (2018), thyroid cancer was the 11th type of cancer in terms of number of new cases and the number of new deaths in 2008. The number of new cases of thyroid cancer in 2018 was 567,233 (3.1% of all cancer cases), while the number of new deaths was 41,071 (0.4% of all cancer cases). (Bray et al., 2018). The incidence of thyroid cancer has been increasing globally where the number of new cases went up from 2.1% in 2012 (Grimm, 2017) to 3.1% in 2018 (Bray et al., 2018). Research reveals various risk factors for thyroid cancer, including environmental/lifestyle factors, such as increased intake of iodine, radiation, nitrates, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and poor diet, as well as comorbidities, such as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases (Liu, Su, &Xiao, 2017). The evident growth in the incidence of thyroid cancer may be due to improved detection through effective tests, such as biopsy and imaging, or an actual increase in the rate of thyroid cancer cases (Liu, Su, &Xiao, 2017).

The current study focuses on the incidence of thyroid cancer in the Gulf states. In 2002, thyroid cancer was the second most common cancer in all Gulf States, except Bahrain and Kuwait. In Bahrain and Kuwait, thyroid cancer was rated as the third most common type of cancer (Al-Zahrani & Ravichandran, 2007). In a systematic review, the incidence was 6.18% in Libya and 47.34% in Saudi Arabia (Al Shahrani et al., 2016). Thyroid cancer is prevalent in the Gulf as in other countries across the world, possibly due to the adoption of the western lifestyle (Al Shahrani et al., 2016).

Since research is limited in terms of the incidence of thyroid cancer in the entire Gulf region, it is critical to conduct an additional assessment on the issue (Al Shahrani et al., 2016). It is essential to assess and monitor the incidence rate of thyroid cancer in the gulf region. Besides, it is crucial to establish the current trends and changes in the rates of cancer with time (Al-Othman et al., 2015).

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