Cancer in Kuwait: magnitude of the problem

Gulf J Oncolog. 2010 Jul;(8):7-14.


Cancer registry data obtained from the Kuwait Cancer Registry at Kuwait Cancer Control Center (KCCC) of Ministry of Health, State of Kuwait. The data covers the years 1974 to 2007.

Aim of this study: was to estimate the magnitude of the cancer problem in Kuwait over the period 1974-2007.

Materials and methods: Age-adjusted incidence rates (ASR) with standard error (er) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) of age-standardized rates were estimated. Statistical significance was assessed by examining the standardized rate ratio (SRR).

Results: It was noted that by following the Cancer registry data there was a trend of increase in adjusted rates among both males and females. Looking into specific cancers it was noticed that comparing the ASR of colorectal cancer among Kuwaiti males, it increased by about 5 folds over the last 33 years and ranked the 1st most frequent site on the years 2003-2007. Prostate cancer incidence increased by 3 folds (14.5 cases /100,000 populations) and ranked the 4th most frequent site among Kuwaiti males. The incidence of Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) and leukemia had increased by 1.5 to 2 folds over the same time period. The rise of lung cancer incidence declined to similar rates compared to that observed in the early 70s and 80s. For Kuwaiti females breast cancer had the highest incidence among Kuwaiti population (15 cases /100,000 populations), it increased by 3 folds (50 cases /100,000 populations) over the last 33 years. The incidence of colorectal cancer increased by about 4 folds; (13 cases /100,000 populations). NHL and leukemia increased by 2-2.5 folds over the same studied duration. Meanwhile Thyroid cancer increased by one fold.

Conclusion and recommendations: Some of the differences in cancer rates over the last 33 years are likely to be attributable to the variation in exposure to specific etiologic factors that are caused by differences in lifestyle and habits, such as dietary, physical activity and obesity. Further research with a view to understanding these changes in cancer incidence is warranted. The need for an interventional prevention programs that vigorously involve, diet, anti-smoking and physical activity among both sexes.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kuwait / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Registries
  • Time Factors