Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in Europe. Every year, around 470,000 people are diagnosed with it. Half do not survive. And while the disease is predominantly experienced by those over 50, there is a frightening increase in those under 50 being diagnosed. In the context of discrepancies in access to healthcare, colorectal cancer survival rates are greatly increased in countries that have better access to screening services, especially endoscopic screening and specialized care, said former Prime Minister and Maltese MEP Alfred Sant when he launched the European Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month organised by EuroColon at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Dr Sant, himself a cancer survivor, said all citizens in all EU member states, should have access to easy and affordable screening for colorectal cancer
“Unfortunately, as things stand right now, in Europe we still face huge discrepancies between countries concerning the level of colorectal cancer treatment and prevention. There are persistent differences in the survival rates of patients throughout Europe, suggesting that healthcare inequalities within the continent remain a prime reason for high mortality rates.
We need to raise awareness as well as accessibility to preventive care. Within the European institutions we pay much attention to the balancing of government budgets and public debt control. But we should also keep in mind that the pressures that ensue from these targets, are having a direct impact on the lives of our citizens.
We often hear complaints in Europe about the quality and extent of public healthcare systems. In some cases, I am afraid we are regressing rather than progressing. That would be a downward convergence in health standards and outcomes which certainly does not reflect the principles of this Union. We must therefore insist that if it is time for change in Europe, countries and regions that cannot provide what should be considered by our standards of today, basic healthcare for their citizens, must be given support and assistance.” said Dr Sant.
The Chairperson of EuropaColon Ms Jola Gore-Booth congratulated Malta on the highly efficient system it has adopted for the screening of colorectal cancer. The theme for this year’s Coference was TIME FOR CHANGE, which Ms Gore-Booth said was a clear indication that not enough progress is being made towards implementing a system of colorectal cancer screening across the European Union. EuropaColon aims to unite patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, politicians, the media and the public in the fight against the disease. The organisation is currently represented by 40 groups across 31 European countries and has been acknowledged as the voice of colorectal cancer patients in Europe.

Maltese Version – Iċ-ċittadini kollha tal-UE jistħoqqilhom aċċess għall-iscreening tal-kanċer tal-musrana”

Il-kanċer tal-musrana l-kbira huwa t-tieni l-aktar kanċer komuni fl-Ewropa. Kull sena, madwar 470, 000 persuna timrad bih. Nofshom imutu. Filwaqt li din il-marda taqbad l-aktar lil dawk li qabżu l-ħamsin sena, hemm żieda inkwetanti fost dawk li għandhom inqas eta`. Fil-kuntest li jeżistu diskrepanzi kbar fl-aċċess għas-servizzi tas-saħħa medika bejn il-pajjiżi, ir-rata ta’ għixien tal-pazjenti bil-kanċer tal-musrana hija akbar f’dawk il-pajjiżi li għandhom aċċess aħjar għall-iscreening, speċjalment screening endoskopiku u kura speċjalizzata.
Dr Sant qal dan waqt li nieda x-xahar iddedikat għall-Għarfien tal-Kanċer tal-Musrana l-Kbira fl-Ewropa organizzata mill-EuroColon fil-Parlament Ewropew fi Brussell.
L-Ewroparlamentari Malti, li għeleb il-kanċer, qal li ċ-ċittadini kollha tal-UE, għandu jkollhom aċċess għall-iscreening tal-musrana l-kbira. Dan l-aċċess għandu jkun sempliċi u irħis fil-prezz biex kulħadd ikun jista’ jilħqu.
“Sfortunatament, kif inhuma l-affarijiet bħalissa, fl-Ewropa għadna naraw diskrepanzi kbar bejn il-pajjiżi dwar trattament u prevenzjoni ta’ dan it-tip ta’ kanċer. Qed ikun hemm differenzi persistenti fir-rata ta’ għixien ta’ pazjenti fl-Ewropa, li jissuġġerixxu li inugwaljanzi fil-qasam tas-saħħa fi ħdan il-kontinent Ewropew jaħtu l-aktar għar-rata kbira ta’ imwiet b’din il-marda.
Għandna bżonn inżidu l-għarfien u l-aċċessibilita` għall-kura preventiva. Fi ħdan l-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej nagħtu ħafna attenzjoni lil bilanċ tal-baġits tal-gvernijiet u lil kontroll tad-dejn pubbliku. Imma rridu nżommu f’moħħna li l-piż li rridu nġorru biex nlaħħqu ma’ dawn il-miri, qed ikollhom impatt dirett fuq il-ħajja taċ-ċittadini tagħna.
Ta’ sikwit nisimgħu ilmenti fl-Ewropa dwar il-kwalita` u l-limiti tas-sistemi tas-saħħa pubblika. F’ċerti każijiet, inħoss li sejrin lura aktar milli ’il quddiem. Mixjin lejn konverġenza ta’ standards li sejrin ’l isfel u li żgur ma jirriflettix il-prinċipji ta’ din l-Unjoni. Irridu għalhekk ninsistu li jekk dan huwa żmien ta’ bidla fl-Ewropa, pajjiżi u reġjuni li ma jistgħux jipprovdu servizz tas-saħħa bażiku bl-istandards tal-lum għaċ-ċittadini tagħhom, għandhom jingħataw appoġġ u assistenza.” qal Dr Sant.
Iċ-Chairperson ta’ EuropaColon Ms Jola Gore-Booth ferħet lil Malta għas-sistema effiċjenti li għandha għall-iscreening tal-kanċer tal-musrana l-kbira. It-tema tal-Konferenza ta’ din is-sena hija ‘ŻMIEN GĦAL BIDLA’. Ms Gore-Booth qalet li dan it-titlu huwa indikazzjoni ċara li ma sarx biżżejjed progress lejn implimentazzjoni ta’ sistema għall-iscreening tal-kanċer tal-musrana l-kbira tul l-UE.
EuropaColon għandha l-għan li tgħaqqad pazjenti, professjonisti u politiċi, il-mezzi tax-xandir u l-pubbliku fil-ġlieda kontra din il-marda. L-organizzazzjoni hija rrappreżentata minn 40 grupp tul 31 pajjiż Ewropew u hija magħrufa bħala l-vuċi tal-pazjenti tal-kanċer tal-musrana l-kbira fl-Ewropa.