By Evie Andreou
CANCER is a major challenge to public health as estimates indicate that one in three people will fall victim to the disease, President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday at the inauguration of the new outpatients’ wing of the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre in Nicosia.
“On the occasion of World Day against Cancer I would like to remind you that it is estimated that each year 3,500 Cypriots are diagnosed with cancer and it has become the second cause of death in Cyprus, while in other European countries it is the main cause of death, surpassing heart disease,” the president said.
He said that new wing of the oncology centre would help upgrade the services on offer to patents and to help solve the lack of space.
The outpatients’ centre, he said was in line with international best practices on cancer care.
“On the one hand the patient can benefit from the care the centre offers and on the other hand, they can return home to their families and social environment,” Anastasiades said.
He added that the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre, founded in 1995, last year treated more than 12,000 patients “and it is the biggest private initiative in the history of the Republic of Cyprus”.
“The government has set prevention and treatment of cancer as top priorities,” Anastasiades said.
He added that the Cabinet had recently agreed on the creation of the first breast cancer centre and he also referred to the colon cancer screening tests taking place in the Larnaca region which has saved many lives, he said.
“I would like to reassure you that despite the economic crisis, the state will continue to provide patients with the most modern treatments,” he said.
He also said that the state’s radiology centre would be expanded and upgraded, and that the Cancer Archives, which record all new cases and evaluates all applicable cancer programmes, were also upgraded recently.
Referring to the reform of the health sector, Anastasiades said it would be the biggest project undertaken since the foundation of the Republic.
“The project includes the implementation of a comprehensive, socially just and viable health system through which quality service will be offered to citizens throughout their lifetime; a system where the private and public sectors will equally participate,” he said.
The president said he would like to see the NHS being implemented during his term.