FECEC warns that “the next pandemic will be cancer if urgent action is not taken to prevent it”

Date: 24 de February de 2022
  • FECEC calls for more investment and health professionals for primary care and warns that accumulated collapse continues to cause delays in cancer diagnosis at risk of worse prognosis.
  • It shows that, despite efforts to standardise early screening programmes in cancer, two years after the outbreak of the health crisis, the pandemic is still on the bill and does not work 100%.
  • This year FECEC-Junts contra el Càncer receive more demand for psychosocial care services.

Coinciding on 4th February, World Day Against Cancer, the president of the Catalan Federation of Anti-Cancer Entities (FECEC), Maria Assumpció Vilà, cautions that "if urgent measures are not taken to straighten out the situation in the health system the next pandemic will be cancer". FECEC asks the Generalitat for more resources and more health professionals to primary care.

Delays in cancer diagnosis continue

FECEC entities record in their day-to-day work with cancer-affected people that saturation at primary care causes delays in fast diagnostic circuits, where there is a suspicion of tumor. These delays in diagnosis are a worse prognosis for the treatment and cureability of the disease.

The successive waves of COVID-19 have brought primary care, already heavily worn after two years of pandemic, and years of cuts to the public health system. That is why FECEC calls for an urgent budget item and for more health professionals to be recruited to reverse the current collapse.

On the other hand, stressing that once the person is diagnosed with cancer, oncological care in hospital centers seems to function without delay in treatment.

We also wish to point out that, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, FECEC have received more demand for psychosocial care services such as psychological accompaniment, legal advice and rehabilitation therapies...

The pandemic is still billing the screening programs

In June 2020, the screening program for breast cancer was resumed and in September the programme for colon and straight cancer in Catalonia, after months of a health crisis. Despite efforts to normalize its operation, at this stage the pandemic still causes affections. There is a direct link between the functioning of these programmes and the future incidence of cancer. In fact, the detection of this disease at more advanced stages poses a risk of worse prognosis, in terms of treatment and the chances of healing. With regard to early detection, FECEC urges the establishment of population screening for cervical cancer, approved by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System.

Cancer in numbers

In 2022, more than 280,000 new cancer cases are expected in Spain compared with 276,239 registered the previous year, without counting the effects of COVID-19 as regards diagnostic delays. These are data from the report "Cancer in Spain 2022" by the Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM).

The European Commission notes that the number of cancer cases could increase by almost 25% by 2035, if no effective measures are taken, and this would make cancer the first cause of death in Europe.

Author: FECEC