The Middle East Cancer Consortium is a unique inter-governmental health organization established in 1996 by a multinational agreement endorsed by the Ministries of Health of its six member states in the Middle East: Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, The Palestinian Authority and Turkey and the United States of America. Against all odds, and despite ongoing political turmoil, MECC has continued to launch and sustain academic-based medical programs that bring together scientists, academicians, and clinical professionals from its member countries, joined by medical personnel from many other countries in the Middle East.
Initially, MECC established a successful Middle Eastern Network of Cancer Registry Centers, involving Cypriot, Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian, Turkish, American, and European health/medical colleagues as part of a US National Cancer Institute (NCI) initiative. The project began with the establishment of a regional network of cancer registries documenting the incidence of various cancers and stage of the disease at diagnosis. This framework enabled MECC to build a consensus among its members in developing standards that enable comparisons of cancer incidence in the Middle East detailed in a monograph published in 2006 (NIH Publication No 06-5873, 2006). This served as the first framework for multinational gatherings and collaborations during times of peace and war.
From the start, MECC’s work in the region was based on collaborative efforts involving all six member states as well as other countries in the region, consisting of training courses, workshops and educational conferences. This has continued throughout MECC's history.