Cancer in Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon between 2015 and 2017

Paul B. Spiegel, Joseph G. Cheaib, Saad Abdel Aziz, Orit Abrahim, Michael Woodman, Adam Khalifa, Minyoung Jang, Farrah J. Mateen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Protracted conflicts in the Middle East have led to successive waves of refugees crossing borders. Chronic, non-communicable diseases are now recognised as diseases that need to be addressed in such crises. Cancer, in particular, with its costly, multidisciplinary care, poses considerable financial and ethical challenges for policy makers. In 2014 and with funding from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, we reported on cancer cases among Iraqi refugees in Jordan (2010–12) and Syria (2009–11). In this Policy Review, we provide data on 733 refugees referred to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon (2015–17) and Jordan (2016–17), analysed by cancer type, demographic risk factors, treatment coverage status, and cost. Results show the need for increased funding and evidence-based standard operating procedures across countries to ensure that patients have equitable access to care. We recommend a holistic response to humanitarian crises that includes education, screening, treatment, and palliative care for refugees and nationals and prioritises breast cancer and childhood cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e280-e291
JournalThe Lancet Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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