Cyprus has a lot to gain from the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, said the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, on Saturday addressing a conference on metastatic breast cancer, co-organized in Nicosia by the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center and Europa Donna Cyprus.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, its Permanent Secretary Christina Yiannaki noted that Cyprus is implementing the Plan’s guidelines, particularly regarding cancer prevention and early diagnosis.

In her remarks, Kyriakides said the Plan started in early 2020, with a budget of over €4 billion and represents a political commitment of the EU. Its aim is to reduce new cancer cases in all member states by providing equal access to population-based screening programmes, diagnosis, and treatment for all citizens, regardless of the country they live in.

She also said that in 2020, approximately 2.7 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the EU, while 1.3 million people lost their lives.

Regarding Cyprus, Kyriakides noted that it can benefit from the updated recommendations for population-based screening programmes for breast cancer, uterine cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and the gastrointestinal system, which are promoted within the framework of the European Plan.

Regarding metastatic cancer, Kyriakides said that the Plan includes a pillar for quality of life after cancer. She noted that patients are affected in many areas, such as reintegrating into the workforce, rehabilitation programmes, access to financial services, access to innovative drugs, and more. She declared that “as a Cypriot Commissioner for Health, I will always stand by your side.”

In her greeting at the conference, Yiannaki said the event is dedicated to every woman experiencing the challenging experience of cancer. She stated that Cyprus is implementing the guidelines of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, primarily promoting prevention and early diagnosis programmes.

She said that the Ministry of Health, following EU recommendations, had developed a pilot population-based screening programme for breast cancer for women aged 45-74 since 2003.

Christos Triantafyllidis, the President of the Board of Commissioners of the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center announced that during the board’s next meeting, it will propose the setting up of a Friends of the BAnk of Cyprus Oncology Group for anyone who wish to contribute to support the centre.

Europa Donna President, Mary Perdios underlined the significance of information and awareness, along with breaking down prejudices, to support patients.

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