It’s worth asking if our medical systems are set-up to cope with 21st Century health problems? The Ministerial statement from the recent OECD meeting stated that a new vision for the future of healthcare is needed. To achieve this the principle should be to focus on patients and their continuity of care and to promote people’s physical and mental good health.
In some countries there is good news with advances in treatment and care leading to improved survival rates of up to 5-fold for late stage colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Yet despite these advances and improvements in survival for patients with CRC, there are considerable variations across Europe with very low survival observed in Eastern Europe. The data is clear – the highest mortality rates are found in Central and Eastern Europe and these numbers will continue to increase unless we do something soon.
In an attempt to save lives, some governments have introduced formal population screening programs to detect CRC at an early stage. If diagnosed early it can be treated more easily or even prevented from developing. Other countries have still to commit to this basic form of health prevention, proven to be very cost effective.
Aggravating this situation is an ageing population living longer with the numbers of patients with multiple chronic diseases increasing rapidly. Healthcare systems are facing increasing demands because of this demographic change. The recent economic crisis has brought with it cuts in healthcare budgets and in health insurance coverage, increased fees and co-payments and has lead to cuts in social protection measures. Disparities in access to healthcare are making these inequalities even greater.
Although highly treatable if diagnosed early it is predicted that the number of cases of CRC diagnosed annually worldwide will grow rapidly from 1.4 million in 2012 to 2.4 million by 2035. Are we ready for that? Have we done enough?
EuropaColon believes more must be done. We call on Governments, Politicians, Healthcare Professionals, Ministries of Health, Media, General Public, Patients and Carers to be United Against Colorectal Cancer.
We all want to achieve the same goals – less people suffering with fewer deaths from CRC!
To deliver this we have 2 Calls to Action:
a. Provision of equal access to treatment and care - no matter where we live and no matter where we are from in Europe
b. Improvement of prevention by implementing formal population CRC screening programs as an urgent first step towards saving lives."I had to fight for my treatment" - Barbara's Story
"Screening helped me detect cancer early" - Anthony's Story
"It's free and it saves lives - so why don't we do it?" - Petra's Story
We Are United Against Colorectal Cancer