Italy abandons cancer patients

In the first 17 months of the pandemic, 4.5 million calls for cancer prevention and 2.8 million fewer screening tests were carried out. And by 2035, 3 million more people are expected to die from cancer in Europe than today.

A silent emergency that Covid has only obscured on one side and amplified on the other. For this reason, Italy needs an onocological plan that helps prevent, treat and assist the sick, currently 3.6 million (of which 377 thousand new every year). The pandemic “has exposed the structural deficits and contradictions of the National Health Service, which have caused a crisis in the system – denounces the former Minister of Health Francesco De Lorenzo, president of Favo, the federation that represents associations active in oncology – The years of Covid have meant delays in diagnosis, in the beginning of therapies, the postponement of interventions “.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza himself admits the urgency of «making up for lost time. Cancer is no longer invincible, but we must continue to invest in prevention, research and in strengthening local and home care ”.


Parliament had promised at the time the opening of an oncology table and the implementation of a plan which nevertheless never arrived. “So we did it,” De Lorenzo specifies. The extraordinary plan, presented yesterday in the Senate, asks to recover the treatments not done in the Covid months, aims to improve the hospital-territory routes, supporting the Regions in the implementation of oncological networks and reducing waiting lists. He also believes it is necessary to make screening more widespread and to hire doctors and nurses in the wards.


The plan will be able to make use of the European Commission funds for the European plan to fight cancer (4 billion euros), the funds for the health plan of the South (625 million), the funding provided for by the NRP (15.63 billion euros). euro) and appropriations for the recovery of waiting lists caused by the pandemic (almost 1 billion in funds). The European Union is also asking for an end to the cancer emergency which, among the objectives to be achieved by 2030, has also set itself the goal of increasing the number of cancer survivors from 47 to 75%, focusing on prevention and improvement of treatments , assistance and rehabilitation.


Five years after diagnosis, people diagnosed with testicular or thyroid cancer may be considered cured. After less than ten years, people with stomach, colorectal, endometrial and melanoma cancers.

The people who can already be considered cured, for whom the risk of the disease recurring has become similar to that of those who did not get sick, in Italy are almost one million, 27%. For them the right to be forgotten is sacrosanct: that is, not to be considered sick anymore and to have free access, like everyone else, to insurance or mortgages. To ask is a bill, presented last week in the Senate by Paola Boldrini and supported by the Italian Oncology Patients Network.

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