Posted: March 23rd, 2023

Trends in Thyroid Cancer Incidence in the Gulf Cooperation Council States


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Thyroid cancer is the leading type of malignant endocrine tumors globally. According to GLOBOCAN (2018), thyroid cancer is the 11th type of cancer in terms of number of new cases, 567,233 (3.1%), and numbers of new deaths in 2018 (Bray et al., 2018). The incidence of thyroid cancer in the world has been increasing; for instance, in 2012 the number of new cases was 298,102 (2.1%) (Grimm, 2017). Research reveals various risk factors for thyroid cancer, including environmental/lifestyle factors, such as increased intake of iodine, radiation, and nitrates, as well as comorbidities, such as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (Liu, Su, &Xiao, 2017). The significant growth in the incidence of thyroid cancer may be due to an apparent increase (through better detection) or an actual increase (new risk factors) (Liu, Su, &Xiao, 2017). However, additional research is necessary to prove the exact cause.

The current study focuses on the cases of thyroid cancer in the Gulf states, which are the oil-producing countries around the Persian Gulf. Although data is insufficient regarding the prevalence of thyroid cancer in the entire Gulf, evidence shows a relatively high rate. For instance, in a systematic review, the prevalence 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). However, more research is required to establish the actual cause of thyroid cancer.

Since research is limited in terms of the prevalence of thyroid cancer in the entire Gulf region, it is critical to conduct more research on the issue (Al Shahrani et al., 2016). Besides, it is essential to focus on potential changes in lifestyle and the connection with the increasing prevalence of this type of cancer (Al-Othman et al., 2015). Therefore, the study aims to provide an overview of thyroid cancer prevalence and trends in the region over 15-years.

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