Respect your fellow person, collaborate in fighting human suffering, and build a bridge for better understanding among all people.
The Middle East Cancer Consortium has been working for 19 years to advance cancer care in developing countries. We cross multi-national borders in the Middle East to address patient suffering in areas with few medical resources. We ease suffering, and through compassionate collaboration, we inject friendship into a fractured Middle East.
Who We Are
The Middle Eastern Cancer Consortium (MECC) was established in 1996 as a regional initiative to further cancer research and treatment in poorly serviced and developing areas. The consortium has six members: the United States, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey. We aim to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer in the Middle East. We work with hospital staff, community doctors, social workers, religious leaders, and laypeople in 20 developing countries, including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, and others. We educate and implement responses to cancer challenges. We learn about patients’ needs, and research ways to address them. We maintain relationships with local medical professionals to evaluate our solutions, and assess the changing needs of patients.
Today, 70% of cancer patients in the Middle East seek medical treatment only after their cancer has reached stage 3 or 4. By the time they visit their physician, the tumor is no longer operable. This highlights two needs. First, the need for better awareness for early detection. Second, the need for better palliative care. At stage 3 and 4 of a cancer, the only medical recourse is to make the patient comfortable. However, clinicians in developing countries can only rarely administer palliative care. They have few resources due to poor medical infrastructure. Medical education is poor, and some doctors are unaware of palliative options. The public has poor awareness about cancer care, and many have religious concerns about treatment and pain management. In some countries, medications like morphine are unavailable. End term cancer patients are treated with aspirin.
We address the need for better awareness, treatment, palliation, and quality of life for cancer patients in the Middle East and developing countries. Through research and medical conferences, we identify needs, create solutions, train professionals, and educate the public. We focus strongly on palliative care, but also on general treatment and individual types of cancer. Each conference addresses a specific need and works with a targeted group of professionals. Conferences take place nearly once a month. They raise awareness and provide medical training. They address religious issues and the challenges of low-income populations. We create solutions, and we evaluate, adjust, and re-implement. Then, through research and surveys, we follow the state of cancer treatment in each participating country. In this way, we succeed in responding to the changing realities and needs of our constituents.
A Survey of Our Projects
- Palliative Care: We hold conferences 2-3 times a year that educate professionals and community leaders about the need for palliative care. We address the lack of awareness and training, as well as the cultural and religious issues that deprive patients of pain relief. One of our key activities in 2015 was a training course in palliative care in a hospital in the Palestinian Authority.
- Women’s Health: Our research shows that in the Middle East, breast cancer occurs more than any other cancer. We have also discovered, for example, that breast cancer is detected earlier in Arab women than in Jewish women in Israel. Our women’s health program addresses issues like these and others. In 2015, it brought physicians and researchers together to further understand and respond to breast and gynecological cancers in women.
- Lung Cancer and Smoking Awareness: One of our highest priorities in 2015 was to address the high rate of smoking among Middle Eastern men. We tried to raise awareness of the health risks that come with smoking, and help medical professionals to implement solutions.
- Children’s Cancer: Addressing the incidence, detection, and response to childhood cancers is a high priority for MECC. At present, we are focusing specifically on leukemias and lymphomas in children and how they are treated in the community and the family.
- Religious Considerations in Cancer Treatment: In the Middle East, religious considerations often lead people to refuse medical and palliative care. For example, many individuals worry that pain relief will affect consciousness and prevent a patient from praying. Together with religious leaders, we respond to concerns like these, and endeavor to make people aware that religion permits and encourages cancer care.
- Mental Health Services in Rural Areas: Our researchers are focused on the need for mental health care in rural areas of the Middle East. They will help us to determine the level of emotional support that under-serviced patients received, as well as the need for mental health services. With a response in place, we can improve the comfort and quality of life for low-income and underprivileged patients.
Our Organization’s Goals
- To reduce the incidence of cancer and its related suffering in the Middle East through multinational collaboration, research, and response.
- To make cancer palliation a shared objective for populations, regardless of their religious, cultural, or traditional beliefs.
Please support the compassionate and unifying work of the Middle Eastern Cancer Consortium which brings relief and better care to patients in 20 developing countries, while strengthening ties in a region that suffers from political strife. A grant of $xx,xxx towards one of our projects will go a long way towards fighting both cancer and violence.
Thank you for taking the time to consider our request. We invite you to contact us to discuss our programs further.
Best wishes for good health!