On World Health Day, we are paying attention to an initiative of the European Union, through which our country will be able to more fully serve cancer patients, and those, whose medical cases are more complex – to redirect for treatment to European centers.
The oncology community in Bulgaria has been around for several years now, presented by the Bulgarian Oncological Scientific Society (BOND) and its associated scientific, patient and professional organizations, work actively to draft a National Cancer Plan.
The ultimate goal is the introduction of a European plan to fight cancer, adapted especially for the conditions in our country, as well as in each member state of the Union.
What is in the European Cancer Plan and what will be the benefits for us?
1 one million people die each year in the EU, which makes up a quarter of total mortality. In the same year close 3 millions are newly diagnosed. To adequately meet the needs of people affected by this diagnosis and their families, The European Commission has drawn up a special action plan against cancer.
The European anti-cancer plan will focus on research and innovation, digitalisation and new technologies and will mobilize financial instruments, with which I will support my members. This will allow for the exchange of expertise and resources between supporting countries in the EU, as well as between their regions and cities with less knowledge and capacity.
In this way, the European Cancer Plan will help researchers exchange findings between “small” and “large” Member States and have access to important health data on the potential causes of cancer, as well as for the therapies targeted at them. In this way, medical teams and hospitals will be able to benefit from the information shared.
This is an extremely important point, that the European plan envisages a digital map of all oncology clinics and that patients with complex conditions will have the right to be treated in the most advanced oncology centers. This will give patients across the EU access to optimal care and therapies.
However, how will the huge differences between the 27 Member States in overcoming the disease be overcome?? To this end, each country must draw up its own National Cancer Plan.
What are we doing in this regard?
In February this year. a National Oncology Alliance was established, which united 22 non-governmental organizations – practically all structures, who are actively working on the topic. The main goal of the new union is to prepare a document, to support the working group at the Ministry of Health, committed to the National Cancer Plan.
“We have placed the construction and introduction of a National Cancer Plan among the leading initiatives of the Ministry of Health. We believe, that cancer patients in Bulgaria should be a priority of the ministry.”, said Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Petar Gribnev during the meeting 30-31.03 National Conference on Oncology, organized by BOND. The main focus of the scientific forum was the development of priorities and steps of successive actions for the implementation of this plan.
Built in similarity to the European, and the National Cancer Plan is structured around 4 basic areas: prevention and prophylaxis, innovative diagnostics, treatment and quality of life of the actively ill and survivors.
However, it became clear during the Conference, that certain changes must be made as a matter of priority, such as the restructuring of oncological health care, equipment and qualification support of the oncological medical establishments – former dispensaries, which are now re-registered as complex oncology centers or specialized oncology hospitals. Special attention was paid to innovative diagnostics and the need for pathologists, nuclear medicine, etc.. basic specialists, in order for the innovative therapies to be adequately applicable.
The role of restoring the team approach and providing training initiatives was given to BOND. This means, that the Society will have to create a unified curriculum in medical oncology for all medical universities in the country, which meets European criteria.
Modern methods of surgical treatment and its implementation by world standards by multidisciplinary teams was another topic, which received well-deserved attention at the forum. Models of access to modern drug treatment were also discussed, as well as reimbursement mechanisms.
The conference is the first event of the annual scientific program of BOND, whose goal was not only to acquaint Bulgarian medical professionals with the latest achievements in the field of scientific and clinical oncology, but also to support the development of the National Cancer Plan.
Within the conference, the chairwoman of APOZ Evgenia Alexandrova also made a presentation.