The Pulmonale Association believes that it is necessary to implement a national lung cancer screening program, accusing the Ministry of Health of “lack of will” to implement “structural projects.”
In an interview with Lusa, as part of the lung cancer awareness campaign that started this week, the president of the Portuguese Association Against Lung Cancer (Pulmonale), Isabel Magalhaes, stated that “it is urgent to implement a population screening project as a means of changing the current paradigm of the disease in Portugal.”
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the association reminded that early detection – through screening – of the disease is the solution for patients to live a “longer and better life.”
“Most developed countries already have projects implemented at the national level or at least pilot projects (…). In Portugal, although the Minister of Health said on television at the end of last year that screening would advance, what is known is that it has not progressed.” “Nothing yet.”
In December last year, Manuel Pizarro announced in Brussels that the expansion of the oncology screening program for lung cancer would begin in 2023 with pilot projects, following an updated recommendation from the EU Council of Health Ministers.
At the time, the government official said lung cancer screening would target heavy smokers.
“(…) There seems to be no justification, because the European Union has created a funding line for member states to develop pilot projects (…) specifically in the case of lung cancer. I don’t think it’s a matter of lack of funds. I think it’s a matter of not The desire to structure projects and continue to manage the daily confusion,” accused the president of Pulmonale.
According to the association’s data, lung cancer causes the most deaths in Portugal and Europe.
In 2020, 5,415 Portuguese were diagnosed with lung cancer, with 4,797 people dying from this diagnosis, which equates to 13 deaths for every 15 cases diagnosed.
“Lung cancer remains the oncology that causes the most deaths. This has a lot to do with the fact that patients are diagnosed at a very advanced stage. As a rule, when most patients are diagnosed, they are already at an advanced stage of the disease, which greatly affects the prognosis of the entire disease.” “, explained Isabel Magalhães.
The official pointed out that tobacco is linked to about 80% of diagnoses, noting that second-hand smoke, other carcinogenic substances, pollution, and some pre-existing diseases can also lead to the emergence of the disease or be the basis for it.
“We have been working intensively on this topic for two years, (…) We have a pilot project that has been prepared, measured and identified resources, and we have already submitted it to the Ministry of Health (…) and we will fight for it so that it can be implemented and taken by cable,” he added.
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