MPs at the House health committee on Thursday expressed their satisfaction over the government’s U-turn to greenlight the creation of National Cancer Institute.

After weeks of wrangling, deputies heralded the move that will now see the institute’s creation in the health ministry’s budget to the tune of €1.2 million.

Chairman of the national cancer committee, Dr Pavlos Drakou, welcomed the move and said the National Cancer Institute will upgrade oncology services currently offered to cancer patients in Cyprus. He underlined the relevant bill for the establishment of the Institute should be prepared as soon as possible and from there it should be submitted as soon as possible to plenary for a vote.

Chairman of the committee and Disy MP Efthymios Diplaros said this would inevitably boost cancer research in Cyprus and that would inevitably directly translate into therapeutic benefits for patients.

Currently, Cyprus has one of the highest cases of child cancer across the world, he underlined.

Additionally, having the institute would lead to a strategy that could better coordinate existing oncology departments in the country and set in place proper priorities aimed at both reducing cancer rates, as well as improving holistic care to patients.

“In the past three years, dozens of hospitals and diagnostic centres have received a license, which do not meet the quality criteria of foreign countries on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer cases. The Cancer Institute could act as a supervisory authority but also as a centre to define protocols and certifications of suitability and specialization,” he specified.

Akel MP Marina Nikolaou added the institute would collaborate with European counterparts and as such, improve the diagnostic and treatment qualities, as well as best practices and research.

“Improving detection, access to prevention, diagnosis, cancer treatment, education, research as well as quality of life for all those dealing with cancer, are top priorities for Akel.”

Nikolaou added everyone was on the same page on creating a national cancer institute which would implement a national strategy.

Two weeks ago, Disy slammed the government for not including provisions for the institute’s creation in the budget, saying that since the end of 2021 when Drakou was appointed to his post, both the medical world and patients had been waiting for the institute to open.