Why Are We Assembled Here?
Cancer is and will always remain a horrible disease. Despite this undeniable fact, there is a hopeful upward trend in cancer survival rates world round. Improvements can be attributed to the continual advances in overall health management of this dreadful disease.
Genetic and molecular studies, immunotherapies, progressive surgical techniques, state-of-the-art radiation therapy, along with excellent supportive care all led to this overall global improvement.
Sadly, in Iraq, the health care system was not only headed towards a decline, but it completely broke down starting with the Gulf war in 1991 and in the subsequent years. Following the war, a 13 year UN implemented sanction overtook the country. Coupled with regional and local conflicts, the hospitals suffered tremendous damage. Among the many negative results was the shortage in cancer drugs and medical equipment that patients and providers desperately needed.
To add to this turmoil, there is an undeniable ever increase in the incidence of cancer in Iraq since 1991. The crude incidence rate of cancer increased from 38.9/100,000 populations in 1994, to 82.6/100,000 in 2018 (Iraqi cancer stats).
This rise is not a result of an improvement in early cancer detection, nor is it due to an improvement in data registration. Rather, this is a true reflection of the upward rise in cancer incidence in the country as a result of war.
The main reason for this rise is directly related to the use of non-traditional weapons during the Gulf war and thereafter. These events also led to worsening conditions of basic life necessities such as water, food and air.
Another contributing factor to this increase is the scarce and limited availability of cancer medications, comprehensive cancer centers, and radiation machines. These limitation failed to meet the needs of a worsening medical catastrophe.
Lastly, and more critically, there has been a recognized and unfortunate exodus of doctors in Iraq since the Gulf war. This lead to a crippled medical educational system that not only included medical students and residents but sub-specialists in the field of Oncology itself.
Despite all these hardships, many Iraqi doctors are eager to collaborate and help those affected by this horrendous disease that resulted from war and its disastrous affects on mankind.
Who Are We?
ICAN is a non-profit organization founded by a group of Iraqi cancer specialists.
We gathered here with one goal in mind: To provide our services and support to our cancer specialist colleagues in Iraq for the
betterment of the Iraqi people themselves.
In addition, we would like to support the educational platform in cancer care to Iraqi providers. We plan on discussing establishing local guidelines and milestones along with collaborating in research projects.
We believe we can help by volunteering our time and expertise by bringing up the cancer care knowledge and practice to higher level.
Virtual tools along with in-person visits to the country will be used to communicate with the health providers and officials in Iraq.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Niaimi
Founder Current President
My name is Ahmed Al-Niaimi, born and raised in Iraq, currently a Professor of Gynecology Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City. My main interests are complex and advanced ovarian cancer surgery and surgical outcomes. My hobbies are triathlon and high altitude photography.
Dr. Zaid Al-Wahab
My Name is Zaid R Al-Wahab, I was born in Iraq. I did my residency and fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Wayne State University, Karmanos Cancer institute.
I currently practice Gynecologic Oncology at Beaumont Health in Michigan. I have special interest in robotic surgery, cancer cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC.
Dr. Ghada Kuntar
ICAN Board Member
My name is Ghada Kuntar, I was born in Iraq. I currently live and practice as a Hematologic Oncologist at Wellstart Oncology in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. My passion is cancer education; with a success that came through my social media channels and interviews with cancer providers and activists. I am also actively involved in supporting Iraqi women for a better and safer future.
To serve Iraqi cancer patients by serving and helping Iraqi cancer care providers and oncology stakeholders. We are planning to via transferring the modern knowledge, skill and performance in oncology via different channels.
We aspire to help in improving under- and postgraduate oncology education and training in Iraq. To where the Iraqi cancer care provider would be able to maintain an exquisite high standard of knowledge, skill, and performance essential for safe and competent practice of oncology (surgical, radiation or medical).
Ultimately to establish a collaborative multi-institutional networking and communication are essential factors to successfully rebuild the entire health system in Iraq
By 2030, ICAN will have helped in advancing competency, safety, quantity and quality in cancer care services in Iraq, by setting the modern definitive professional standards for advanced oncology.