Govt adopts national plan for cancer management until 2026

Ljubljana – The government adopted on Thursday the 2022-2026 National Cancer Management Programme, whose aim is to slow down the number of new patients, increase the survival rate of cancer patients and improve their quality of life through rehabilitation and palliative care.

The programme focusses on improving the quality of treatment of cancer patients and improving their quality of life. The first step towards this end is to create guidelines for diagnostics and treatment that need to be updated regularly and implemented in all institutions treating cancer patients.

The next step is to set up clinical registers for the five most common types of cancer – breast cancer, cervical and colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and melanoma -, which was planned already in the previous programme, the government said on its website.

A goal is for the holistic rehabilitation and palliative care to start as soon as the diagnosis is set, which requires better cooperation between institutions as well as more staff.

Health Minister Janez Poklukar said cancer remained an epidemic of the modern time, so he was happy that the programme had been drawn up despite the Covid situation.

“Slovenia can be proud to have had the National Cancer Management Programme for more than 10 years …” he said.

The fields of cooperation remain similar as so far – preventive programmes at the primary and secondary levels, diagnostics, treatment, holistic rehabilitation, palliative care, education, research and monitoring of the cancer situation.

Branko Zakotnik, the coordinator of the 2017-2021 programme, noted that since 2010, when the first national programme was adopted, “we have managed to reverse the rising trend of new cases of cancer in men, for women we have slowed it somewhat, largely thanks to the screenings programmes, which are of high quality and well received among users”. He said the survival among cancer patients had also been on the rise.

On 1 January 2022, the Health Ministry will hand over the managing of the national cancer programme to the Ljubljana Oncology Institute.