Health minister promises lung, prostate and stomach cancer programmes
Health Minister Manuel Pizarro has announced the expansion of Portugal’s cancer screening programme to include lung, prostate and stomach testing, which will start next year with pilot projects.
Speaking to journalists in Brussels, while attending the Council of Health Ministers of the European Union, he said the Council had recommended new areas for screening, beyond the already established programmes.
Screening “will be extended to lung, prostate and stomach cancer in certain cases,” he said, admitting it “will not be possible to achieve full coverage of the target population for these new screenings” in the first year.
According to the minister, screening for lung cancer will be directed at heavy smokers, screening for stomach cancer “to communities where the risk is more significant” and screening for prostate cancer “to all men over 50 and 55 years old, depending on the case”.
Screening is one of the best-known processes for early diagnosis in people who have no symptoms of cancer. Portugal currently runs programmes for breast, colorectal and cervical cancer.
According to data from the General Directorate of Health (DGS), screenings this far have shown a reduction in mortality of approximately 30% in breast cancer, 20% in colorectal cancer and 80% in cervical cancer.
Manuel Pizarro also said that, in the Council of Health Ministers of the European Union, an appeal was made to the European Commission to establish an action plan for the promotion of mental health, one of the areas that suffered the greatest impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There was almost unanimity on the call to the European Commission to launch an action plan for the promotion of mental health, with the realisation of 2024 as the European Year of Mental Health,” he said.