Government announces ‘cancer plan’: report

Polish “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna” daily reports that the Polish government has prepared an Oncological Strategy, which includes refundation of HPV vaccines, a “sugar tax” and a higher excise on cigarettes.

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Poland was one of the last European countries without a “cancer plan.” The daily reports that the government has one purpose: to increase the survival rate. For example, by 2030, they aim to reduce breast cancer fatalities by 10 percent, from 32.3 percent to 23 percent.

“DGP” emphasises that another focus of the government will be preventing cancer because one of the problems is that tumours are often diagnosed too late to be efficiently treated in Poland.

Apart from a higher excise on cigarettes, lessons about the harmfulness of smoking are planned to be introduced to schools.

Another aspect pinpointed is access to treatment. The government wants to continue building the network of oncological hospitals, which introduce cooperation between first contact doctors, specialist facilities and care following treatment.

The draft also includes spending PLN 100 mln (EUR 23.2 mln) on the research of new oncological medicines.

Authors of the strategy stress that the purpose is to catch up with the European average. The basic indicator of a five-year survival rate of a patient diagnosed with cancer 10-25 percent lower in Poland than in the rest of the European Union, depends on the kind of the disease.

Experts from the Polish Oncology Association point out that Poland lacks specialists in oncological radiotherapy. The association points out that there are vacancies for 130 radiotherapists, 250 medical physicists and 370 radiotherapy technicians.

It is estimated that the number of oncological patients in Poland may increase by 15 percent over the next five years, while that figure could jump to 28 percent in a decade.

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