Moving cancer prevention and care forward in Saudi Arabia

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is a major public health problem in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The economic prosperity and urbanization alongside healthcare improvements have made significant improvements in healthcare over the past three decades, which resulted in a longer life expectancy. The kingdom implemented initiatives to improve the healthcare system including access to primary and secondary healthcare centres, healthcare workforce, and medical technology. The rapid economic and population growth have, however, happened alongside rapid demographic and socio-economic changes such as increased tobacco use and decreased physical activity, which are expected to influence the prevalence of some types of cancer in KSA. As a result, cancers and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), chronic respiratory diseases, are now the leading cause of death and responsible for 73 % of all deaths replacing infectious diseases as a leading cause of death in last 30 years. Cancer incidence and prevalence are projected to double by 2030 in the KSA, causing a surge in health care costs and placing an economic burden. This paper highlights the challenges facing primary cancer prevention measures in KSA that will be needed to reduce exposure to risk factors and the actions needed to monitor the outcomes of cancer care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100250
JournalJournal of Cancer Policy
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Cancer
  • Prevention
  • Saudi Arabia


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