Cancer : A Leading Cause Death Worldwide

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Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. It is the second leading cause of death in the United States (US) being responsible for approximately 23% of all deaths, with half of all men and one-third of all women developing some form of cancer during their lifetime(1) . Cancer is the third most common cause of death in Saudi Arabia.(2) Between January 1st and December 31, 2010, 13,706 patients with cancer were reported to the Saudi Cancer Registry. Overall women were more often affected than men, with 6,579 (48%) males and 7,127 (52%) females affected, giving a male to female ratio of 92:100. The overall age-standardized incidence rate (ASR) for all Saudis with a world standard population reference was 84/100,000 (76.7/100,000 in males and 91.2/100,000 in females)(3).
Cancer is not a diagnosis restricted to the practice of oncologists, most physicians being involved in the management of patients with problems related to cancer as a disease, cancer treatments or the complications of cancer. Medical students who go on to pursue careers as general physicians, surgeons or family practitioners will frequently be involved in the screening, diagnosis and follow up of cancer patients. It is therefore logical to provide training in oncology for medical students through a specific oncology course with a defined curriculum. Furthermore, many of the skills learned particularly well in this context (eg communication skills) and the ethical dilemmas brought into sharp focus in
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