04 February 2022

Daniela Bianco
The impact of the pandemic on cancer prevention

On the 2022 World Cancer Day, February 4, we stress the importance of individual action and personal commitment to cancer prevention, especially during a pandemic.

The World Health Organization notes that between 30% and 50% of cancers can be prevented by reducing risk factors and implementing existing prevention strategies. Many cancers have a high probability of recovery if diagnosed early and treated appropriately, so the timeliness of diagnosis is crucial to increase the chances of surviving an oncological disease.

In the years prior to COVID-19, participation in screening programmes (scheduled on a national level and spontaneous) in Italy had improved significantly, with one of the best coverage in Europe for all types of cancer. After the arrival of the pandemic, however, there has been a dramatic slowdown in cancer screening activities in all Italian regions, with negative impacts on the prospective health outcomes and on the sustainability of our National Health System.

In the 16th Report "Meridiano Sanità" realized by The European House - Ambrosetti there was a significant decrease in the figures related to national screening, with a drop of 600,000 diagnoses and 350,000 oncological treatments in comparison with the previous three years.

Taking into account this dramatic scenario, as well as the recommendations of the European Plan on Beating Cancer and the EU Mission on Cancer of the European Commission, it is even more urgent to elaborate a unified and articulated strategy that implements a variety of interventions. This may be the foundation of a new National Oncology Plan, as repeatedly requested by the medical and scientific community, and patient associations.

Read the 16th Report Meridiano Sanità