By Evie Andreou
THE SPECIALLY appointed committee tasked with setting up a specialised breast cancer centre has three months to prepare concrete and detailed proposals, the health ministry announced on Friday.
Health Minister Philippos Patsalis had his first meeting on Friday with committee members which include Europa Donna Cyprus, the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre and other doctors specialising in cancer treatment.
In November, the Cabinet approved the gradual conversion of the breast cancer unit housed at Nicosia general hospital into a dedicated breast cancer centre, according to the European Parliament resolution on breast cancer, which calls on member states to ensure nationwide provision of interdisciplinary breast centres in accordance with EU guidelines by 2016.
The committee’s proposals must include needs for additional staff, premises and equipment, the relevant costing and an implementation schedule, the ministry announced after the meeting.
“The creation of a specialised breast centre satisfies a standing demand of Europa Donna Cyprus, follows the European guidelines and the national strategy and the action plan prepared by the national committee against cancer,” the announcement said.
“In 2013, 160 cases were referred to the [existing Nicosia General Hospital] unit, which since 2013 is a member of the European School of Oncology network, and these are expected to rise to 180 this year,” the ministry said.
The unit, which has been operating for five years now, has a multidisciplinary participation of surgeons, plastic surgeons, radiologists, histopathologists, oncologists, radiotherapists and nursing staff, the ministry said.
According to the European Union guidelines, the ministry said, the new specialised breast centre must have a sufficient number of patients in order to be effective and provide constant expertise.
“Furthermore, they must offer constant care to patients with advanced (metastatic) disease … and with high quality services of palliative care,” the announcement said.