The workshop activity was titled 'Diet, Lifestyle and Cancer Prevention' and had ten experts from various entities to share and disseminate knowledge about cancer risk in Oman. They covered a broad range of topics in relation to cancer prevention such as: Functional foods, dietary antioxidants, natural therapeutic agents, dietary supplements and nutrition after cancer diagnosis in addition to the emerging concepts for cancer etiology, survivorship and lifestyle modifications.
The prevalence of cancer is growing worldwide, and the evidence base for a link between cancer, obesity and dietary habits is increasing. Recent investigations have identified the role of inflammation in cancer development and progression. Obesity is associated with chronic, low-grade inflammation which increases the risk of cancer. There are many studies which investigated that certain types of food and dietary habits could modulate the inflammatory response and thus lower the risk of certain cancers. Recent investigations have clarified that inflammation is a major factor for the progression of various chronic diseases/disorders, including cancer. Free radical productions from different biological and environmental sources are due to an imbalance of natural antioxidants, which further leads to various inflammatory associated diseases. Obesity poses challenges in the effective management of cancer. Furthermore, cancer survivors are at an increased risk of morbidity and mortality, not only from cancer but from competing factors, such as the heart disease. Data are beginning to emerge demonstrating a reduction in incidence in cancer and its recurrence with the treatment of obesity. Obesity is known to cause several cancers, including cancers of the colon, post-menopausal breast, uterus, pancreas, gall bladder, liver, esophagus and kidney.
There is a greater consciousness of the links between dietary and lifestyle modifications and cancer risk. This workshop activity aimed to create an awareness campaign in preventing and initial screening of cancer and to update researchers and clinical staff about new research findings, which will enhance Oman's research base, and also to reduce the increasing financial burden of cancer treatment. The workshop had three unique features that made it distinctive: (1) Covered newly updated information in the field of nutrition and cancer, (2) provided a comprehensive link between primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of different types of cancer and (3) combined basic science approaches with clinical practice.
The high rate of urbanisation and a steady increase in the per capita income during the past years has improved the socio-economic status of the people in the sultanate; this has resulted in drastic changes in their lifestyle and food consumption patterns. Traditional foods are being replaced with Western-style ready-made foods, and the consumption of plants-based foods (fruits and vegetables) has decreased. The dietary pattern that is characterised by low intake of antioxidants and vitamin B among the Omani adult population has led to an increase in the prevalence cancer that will drain Oman’s human and financial resources, if appropriate strategies are not developed and introduced to the current health care system for the primary prevention of such a chronic disease. The department of Non-communicable Diseases Control, Ministry of Health in Oman has declared that over the next 25 years, the adults and elderly population of Oman will increase six folds, and the urbanisation rate is expected to reach 86 per cent and more than 75 per cent of the disease burden in Oman is attributable to chronic diseases, with cancer as the leading cause of death.
Recent studies in Oman have revealed that the incidence of some cancers increased compared to that in reports of previous years. The incidence and mortality were higher in men than in women. Common cancers should be detected early using screening tests such as colonoscopy and mammography. The tests can be especially useful in old age. Additional studies should be performed to investigate the causes of cancer incidence and mortality.