With the leaders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states set to convene for the 13th OIC summit in Istanbul, their wives will meet to discuss reforms regarding the access to cancer treatment in Islamic countries. The First Ladies' Leadership on Cancer Control in the OIC Member States will be held on the sidelines of the summit today and a formal declaration will be released on the issue. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's wife Emine Erdoğan will host a meeting that was organized by the presidency, OIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency's Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).
The special event, the first of its kind, will look into the state of countries with high cancer rates.
Cancer is among the leading causes of death from diseases worldwide. A health report released last year by the OIC shows that the mortality rate per 100,000 people dropped from 104 to 94 in OIC countries between 2000 and 2012 while a number of countries - including Kazakhstan and Turkey - were among countries with high cancer rates, according to 2012 figures.
The First Ladies will discuss their roles as influential figures in their countries in the fight against cancer, promoting cooperation between countries for cancer awareness and opening the channels of communication between cancer patients to increase cancer awareness and more effective diagnosis and treatment procedures.
A documentary on the "cancer burden" in OIC member states will be shown at the event where Niger First Lady Malika Issoufou Mahamadou is expected to deliver a speech sharing her experience at the Forum of African Ladies' Against Breast, Cervical and Prostate Cancer platform. Shusmita Khan, a cancer survivor and community activist from a Bangladesh-based nongovernmental organization, is also scheduled to speak at the event.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Turkey, according to official figures. Neoplasms, or malign precancerous tumors, claimed more than 76,000 lives last year in the country. An official for the Turkish Cancer Society recently stated that one in every five men in Turkey will contract prostate cancer while one in every eight women in the country will develop breast cancer.