The Malta Independent 20 June 2019, Thursday

PN launches 30 proposals for fight against cancer; focus on prevention, treatment, research

Albert Galea Monday, 18 March 2019, 14:10 Last update: about 3 months ago

The fight against cancer is a priority for the PN, the party’s spokesperson for health Stephen Spiteri said as the party launched 30 proposals which deal with fighting the disease.

Spiteri said that the country has to be pro-active so to ensure that Malta has the best quality of treatment, screening, and support; and so that the country reaches its European aims.

Launching the proposals, Francis Zammit Dimech – who is both a serving MEP and also an MEP candidate for the PN – said that the document focuses on various themes such as prevention, dealing with rare types of cancer, the need for more research, investment in resources and infrastructure, and governance in this sector amongst others.

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Zammit Dimech said that emphasis must be given on the awareness of screening programmes must be given by working with entities such as NGOs or local councils.  One of the proposals in fact notes that it is time to consider whether population-based screening for prostate cancer should take place, with this type of cancer being the most common to affect men in Europe.

He passed his congratulations on to Professor Godfrey Grech, whose research has discovered a less invasive and more patient-friendly way of screening.  He said that research needs to be given more importance both at a local level – where Malta are third bottom in terms of funding – and European level - where he said that he has insisted for more funding.

The need to emphasise a healthier life style was also paramount, Zammit Dimech, with promotion of such a lifestyle imperative in terms of prevention of cancer.  Measures relating to prevention include the introduction in schools of prevention programmes involving consumption of healthy food and good amounts of exercise.

He said that patients also had to be empowered, not just so that they know more about their condition but also so that they can take on more multidisciplinary forms of treatment.  Providing psychological assistance to patients and their relatives, Zammit Dimech said, is also extremely important.

The MEP candidate noted that consultation was crucial in drawing up this document, saying that he had met patients, their loved ones, professionals in the field and all the NGOs whose work deals with cancer – such as Puttinu Cares, Hospice Movement, and the Karl Vella Foundation.  With regards to these NGOs in fact, Zammit Dimech said that he had been approached by the European Cancer League in Brussels so that Malta could be represented within this league.  This representation will come in the form of a platform gathering all these NGOs together, and which will be set up by the President of the Republic.

The PN’s document notes that there are 3.7 million new cases of cancer reported in Europe every year, resulting in 1.9 million deaths every year from the illness. In Malta, the document says, 2,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and that cancer causes 29% of the deaths in the country.

 

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