Cancer Epidemiology in North-Western and Central Asia - Past, Present and Future


The North-Western and Central region of Asia stretches from Turkey through Armenia, Georgia andAzerbaijan, to Iran and Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan and Afghanistan.These countries in the main share Turkic, Iranian or Caucasus ethnicity and culture and can be considered as aregional entity for cooperation in control of cancer. The present review of cancer registry and other epidemiologicaldata was undertaken to provide an evidence base for cancer control programs and pointers to possible researchcollaboration. The most prevalent cancer site in males is the lung in the Western part of the region and thestomach in most of Iran and Central Asia, followed by the oesophagus in the latter two. Bladder cancer iscomparatively frequent throughout. In females breast cancer is number one, generally followed by gastric,oesophageal or cervical lesions. However, there are interesting differences between countries or regions,particularly regarding the stomach. General tendencies for increase in adenocarcinomas but decrease in squamouscell carcinomas and gastric cancer point to change in environmental influence over time. Variation in riskfactors depends to some extent on the level of economic development but overall the countries of the region facesimilar challenges in achieving effective cancer control, underlying the necessity for cooperation.