President praises Poland's new cancer strategy

2020-02-06 18:38 update: 2020-02-13, 12:42
President Andrzej Duda. Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
President Andrzej Duda. Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
President Andrzej Duda on Thursday praised Poland's newly-adopted National Oncology Strategy as a sign of the government's sense of responsibility for future generations.

"I am very happy and extremely thankful that the National Oncology Strategy is taking shape," Duda said, adding that the cancer programme was aimed as a safeguard against an expected rise in cancer rates.

"This is how responsible politicians ought to look at the surrounding reality, this is how they ought to proceed," the president said.

Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski thanked Duda for initiating the strategy, and observed that until now Poland had no formal government act endorsing anti-cancer measures.

Szumowski said the strategy contained no "empty phrasing" but set down concrete steps needed to bring cancer incidence down and improve cancer diagnostics.

"These are concrete undertakings with concrete dates. Among others, the strategy (...) introduces HPV vaccination and digital mammography tests. We will raise the number of hours devoted to oncology in medical schools and expand (oncology - PAP) teaching," Szumowski informed, adding that the strategy also foresaw training in cancer diagnostics for physicians in other specialties.

The Polish cabinet on Tuesday endorsed a National Oncology Strategy for 2020-2030 that aims to increase the five-year cancer survival rate. Prepared by the Health Ministry in response to a rise in cancer incidence in Poland, the new strategy replaces the cancer-fighting programme for 2016-2024.

The increase in cancer cases include ageing and lifestyle factors, according to the government press service CIR.

About a million Poles have been diagnosed with cancer or have undergone cancer treatment, but this figure may grow by 15 percent over the next five years and by 28 percent over the next ten years, according to CIR.

The strategy aims to improve cancer diagnosis at the early stages of the diseases in order to reduce mortality rates. It also tries to streamline oncology services to improve patients' chances of survival.

The strategy is expected to cost the Polish budget PLN 250 mln (EUR 58 mln) in 2020, PLN 450 mln (EUR 105 mln) annually in 2021-2023 and PLN 500 mln (EUR 117 mln) annually in 2024-2030. (PAP)

jd/ mf/ mb/