Lebanese Cancer Society History
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Caring for Life and adding Life to years

Over the past years, the Lebanese Cancer Society (LCS) has grown up to become a large association. Since 1988, membership has more than doubled and is currently approaching 200. In particular, without the efforts of successive members of our Board of Administration, we would never have been able to succeed at this very ambitious undertaking.

In addition to the Bi-Annual Meeting (Middle East Oncology Congress) (COMO I in 1993, COMO II in 1995, COMO III in 1997, COMO IV in 1999, COMO V IN 2001), and other special meetings, symposia and seminars, the Society has expanded its activities over the years to influence most aspects of oncology in Lebanon. 

The monthly Cancer Letter, regularly edited since 1996 has become, arguably a source of information and updating. For those who have not received it, the Web page is complete with increasing amounts of useful information. 

We are a large, vigorous, and busy Society, but this did not just occur suddenly. A great amount of individual and collective effort was displayed before reaching this point. However, most of our members have joined the LCS in the last several years and do not know our history.

In 1954, a small group of physicians who were involved in the care of patients with cancer and, trying to develop a scientific basis for their investigations, decided to form a new society; four medical doctors (Drs Richard Nagib Saliba, Théofile Sleiman Maroun, Loutfallah Salim Melki and Bechara Nakhlé Saad) drafted a letter to invite interested general practitioners and specialists to join the Society. The first meeting was presided over by Dr Richard Saliba. 
Dr Saliba was succeeded in the presidency by Dr Mounib Chahid, Dr Yervant Djedejian and then Dr Philippe Salem from the American University Hospital of Beirut who was the first to promote a multidisciplinary approach for the cancer patient and the initiation of therapeutic protocols. Prevention by information of the public was recognized as a good way against cancer. Many international and local conferences took place in Lebanon.

And then came the long and painful years of war during which any social or scientific activity was difficult, if not impossible. 

In 1987 , Dr Nagib Taleb took over the presidency until 1995. During this period, the reorganization and adaptation of regulation of the LCS was initiated. And then started in 1993 the challenge of organizing the COMO I, then the COMO II in 1995. The large international and loco-regional attendance, the high quality of presentations by the speakers from USA and Europe gave to this scientific event a regional impact. 

The presidency was then taken over by Dr Georges Aftimos in 1996, who presided over the successful COMO III in 1997. 

A reorganization and a new regulation with by-laws amendments took place during a workshop for the Lebanese Cancer Society Board of Administration in August 1999 in Broumanna). 

During the year 2000, the Board of Administration studied a complete by-laws amendments which give all scientific societies the opportunity to participate and be represented in the new Board of Administration. These by-laws amendments were approved unanimously by the General Assembly of January 2001. 

The Lebanese Cancer Society, Member of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) since 1974, is expanding and will continue to expand its education efforts. It will continue to face changes and challenges. The COMO (Congrès d’Oncologie du Moyen-Orient/Middle East Oncology Congress) has grown to more than 500 attendees and does not appear to be leveling off. It has truly become the Regional Cancer Congress.

Under the direction of Dr Georges Aftimos, the LCS initiated yet another strategic planning effort. There are on the one hand our scientific and educational mission, and on the other, protecting the interest of our patients and members. If we intend to protect the interests of our physician members, we must always put first the interest of our patients, or else we will fail.

In 2002, the presidency was taken over by Dr Nabil Chamseddine for 2 years. COMO VI will be held from 1-4 May 2003 and, as usual, we are expecting to be a successful one. 

The recognition of oncology as an important subspecialty of medicine, surgery, pediatrics, radiation medicine, gynecology, and other surgical specialties came as a result of scientific advances that allowed development of new treatments to help patients. Today, the rapid expansion in knowledge of biology, in particular, molecular genetics of normal and cancer cells, promises continued exciting advances. However, this will not occur in the absence of continued commitment to funding cancer investigation. This literally might determine the future for our patients and our profession.

Click here to view the previous Boards of Administration