Cancer Research Challenges and Potential Solutions in Saudi Arabia: A Qualitative Discussion Group Study

Saleh A. Alessy, Abdulaziz A. Almotlak, Maha Alattas, Abdulraheem Alshareef, Kholoud Alwosaibai, Majed A. Alghamdi, Habeeb I.A. Razack, Saleh A. Alqahtani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Cancer incidence in Saudi Arabia has recently shown an upward trend. Research efforts within the different cancer continuum are pivotal to strengthening control measures. Since cancer research is evolving in the country, it is crucial to understand the current challenges and implement defined interventions to overcome them. The present qualitative study aimed to assess cancer research barriers among researchers and identify potential solutions from their perspectives. METHODS: We conducted a focus group discussion among 17 Saudi-based cancer researchers from diverse research backgrounds, provinces, and institutions. We used descriptive-interpretive thematic analysis following an open-ended approach to investigate the challenges in conducting cancer research. We also captured the solutions suggested based on the researchers' experiences. RESULTS: Six major themes emerged from the analysis: requirements of the data landscape, organizational support, national research roadmap, sustainable funding, clearer policies and regulations, and capacity building. To address challenges in these areas, researchers stressed the need for improved interinstitutional collaborations, immediate availability of research materials, and unlimited and easy access to research data. CONCLUSION: Improving health research is one of the primary goals of Saudi Vision 2030. It is, therefore, essential to overcome the current challenges in cancer research, enabling research findings to inform policies related to cancer control and care provision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2300189
JournalJCO Global Oncology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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