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CSF: cancer patients’ access to treatment must be safeguarded

Press release 3 February 2015

Tomorrow, 4 February, is World Cancer Day. In Finland, the theme this year is access to treatment. The aim is to ensure that cancer is detected early on and that patients receive appropriate treatment quickly.

Obligatory deadlines must be set for patients’ access to treatment, and these must be monitored. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has started a project to improve the monitoring of treatment access. The Cancer Society of Finland is participating in this project.

“Delays in treating cancer that is rapidly progressing can undermine patients’ chances of survival. Deadlines for access to cancer treatment must be actively monitored, as is required by Finland’s National Cancer Plan,” says Sakari Karjalainen, General Secretary of the Cancer Society of Finland.”

Population ageing means that the numbers of cancer cases will multiply in the future. This is why there is a need for more human resources for providing cancer treatment. Also, more personalised treatment requires that there are more staff available.

The Cancer Society of Finland says there are shortcomings in cancer diagnostics and treatment in terms of regional disparities and equality between sections of the population.

“The National Comprehensive Cancer Centre must be established so that the limited resources available can be allocated fairly and cost effectively. The tasks of the centre would include issuing treatment recommendations and coordinating a nationwide division of labour concerning demanding forms of treatment, as well as carrying out large investments,” explains Karjalainen.

According forecasts by the Finnish Cancer Registry, demographic change will see annual cancer cases increase from the current number of 30 000 to 40 000 by 2025. Cancer will increase in particular among people over 65 years, who will need special support and care.

World Cancer Day takes place on 4 February each year: in a new window)