Epidemiology of Bladder Cancer in the Arab World: 2019 Global Burden of Disease Data

Document Type : Research Articles


1 School of Medicine, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.

2 Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan.


Background: Urinary bladder cancer (UBC) has unique epidemiology. It is well known that some Arab countries have higher incidence of UBC due to certain risk factors, including schistosomiasis and smoking. Methods: We systematically reviewed the Global Burden of Disease study (GBD) database for the year 2019. We queried GBD study database using results tool for UBC in the 22 Arab countries and compared the age-standardized incidence rate (ASIR), death rate (ASDR), mortality-to-incidence ratio (MIR) and Disability-Adjusted Life Years (ASDALYs) in Arab countries with global values. Results: The Arab population represents 5.6% of the global population. There was an estimated number of 27,503 patients diagnosed with UBC in 2019 in the Arab world. The ASIR for developing UBC in the Arab countries was 9.9/100,000; which is higher than the average global ASIR (6.5/100,000). Specifically, the ASIR was higher than the global average in 11 out of the 22 Arab countries. Notably, the age-specific incidence in Egypt showed that younger individuals had higher incidence of UBC than other countries, reflecting unique epidemiology. It is estimated that 10,532 patients died of UBC in the Arab world in 2019. The average mortality-to-incidence ratio (MIR) was estimated to be 0.448. The burden of UBC as estimated by the number of DALYs in the Arab world was 272,976 years representing 4% of cancer burden in Arab countries and 6.2% of the global DALYs related to UBC. Conclusion: UBC has high incidence in many Arab countries, particularly in North Africa.  Risk factors are known and are modifiable, making prevention the most optimal way to reduce disease burden. High MIR in many Arab countries reflects suboptimal management and a window for improvement.


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