Each year on February 4, World Cancer Day raises cancer awareness and increase cancer prevention, identification, and care.
Oncological diseases remain among the leading health problems of Romanians, being the reason for death for thousands of Romanians with oncologic conditions. Globally, cancer kills at least 10 million people annually, according to data compiled by the World Organization, and Romania is one of the worst affected countries in Europe.
Pollution, stress, chaotic lifestyle and the quality of the food Romanians put on the table are among the key factors contributing to the thousands of new cancer cases discovered each year in Romania.
How many people die of cancer in Romania?
According to the National Institute for Public Health (INSP), 60,000 patients die annually in Romania due to oncologic affections. Around 160 per day. A lot more than the deaths caused by any other virus, right? If somebody considered presenting the numbers daily on all the TV stations, like now with the new coronavirus, we would realize the tragedy around this affection. In other words, we need one February 4 on each and single day to be aware of this.
Tragically, many people died of cancer during the pandemic in Romania because they did not detect the disease in time or could not be treated. After all, the hospitals in the country could not cope with Covid-19 patients. This is often not present, but we should speak bluntly about what is happening and why.
Romanians seek treatment abroad
Due to poor medical conditions in their country and the restrictions in accessing medical treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic, a large percentage of Romanias are choosing to treat their oncologic conditions abroad.
One of the many reasons Romanians seek clinics abroad is that they are not satisfied with the Romanian medical system, and we talk here about the public hospitals. More than that, whenever patients are diagnosed with cancer in Romania, they would immediately seek a second oncological opinion. Therefore, the Austrian or the Turkish clinics seem to be a good choice for the Romanians.
One of the clinics that Romanians use is Anadolu Medical Center. This clinic treats patients in a complex and modern way, providing medical services at an international standard to improve the quality of life. In 2020, according to Anadolu Medical Center, 19% of all foreign patients were Romanian, the highest percentage of patients of other nationalities than Turkish treated for the oncological disease.
Romanian cancer patients choose oncologic clinics abroad, such as Anadolu Medical Center in Turkey or AKH in Austria, because of the doctors’ professionalism, the way patients are welcomed and treated at the centre, and the cutting-edge cancer treatment technologies used. Technologies such as Cyberknife M6, which provides millimetre accuracy in irradiation, or Da Vinci, the world’s most advanced robotic surgery system, are efficient and non-invasive. Why should the cancer patients go for any other classic option? They won’t, and these are the reasons for the success of the foreign oncological clinics.
Statistics show that in both sexes, the types of cancer that cause the most deaths are lung cancer (18%), followed by colorectal cancer (9.4%), liver cancer (8.3%), stomach cancer (7%) and breast cancer (6.9%).
Romanians benefited from 28% of the total of chemotherapy treatments applied at Anadolu Medical Center to foreign patients in 2020. Among the types of cancer that the clinic specialists treated among Romanian patients are breast cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer and breast cancer, prostate, which are among the most common types of cancer in Romania.
If 142 patients died of oncological pathology every day before (Global Cancer Observatory 2018), this figure has now increased. Who is to blame for this situation? The issue of cancer mortality was silenced in the pandemic years, but it is a topic that should raise awareness.
And, one final thought here: out of all those Romanians diagnosed with cancer, how many can afford treatment abroad? Why don’t they have medical options in the country, at the same level as they have abroad, to choose from? The very few private oncological clinics in Romania barely cope with the number of patients seeking to be cured. In this equation, the state hospitals don’t even bother to compete, as they can’t possibly offer what the private clinics do.
How long will it take the Romanian state to do something for the cancer patients and offer proper treatment in the country, in modern state hospitals, within the medical insurance they pay?