Colorectal cancer leaflets were handed out to health centres and to the main hospital to raise awareness by the Malta National Health Screening programmes. We were invited to multiple radio and TV programmes on the importance of colorectal cancer screening and about the NGO formed. Talks at local councils are ongoing throughout the year to reach the public and raise awareness.
In February we have participated in world cancer day where stands with information were placed in the city gate Valletta. This event was given great importance as all the cancer NGOs together with the National Screening centre was present.
In March the National Screening Centre together with MCRAG organized an updating seminar where the head of surgery and the head of genetic research attended. This was a stimulating seminar where we spoke of the way forward when facing new challenges ahead. Mr Debono outlined the problems that surgery is facing with new technologies always being developed and the cost of these instruments and the ever changing technology that it is becoming impossible to keep up to date as by the time new equipment is acquired this will already be outdated.
Prof Scerri said that a research on Maltese colorectal cancer genes is being carried out together with other universities abroad. This is very interesting as although we are a small country there may be some new results from this genetic research that will be used globally.
A seminar was also organised in Gozo for the general public. This was addressed by a dietician and a colorectal surgeon. This seminar focused on healthy diet for cancer prevention.
A new cancer plan was launched and is for public consultation with plans for gradual expansion for the next five years as per European Guidelines.
At the screening centre from January till end of March 8 cancers were diagnosed already, this proves the importance of colorectal cancer screening since mostly these were at an early stage with good prognosis.
We were invited to multiple TV and radio programmes where we spoke both about colorectal cancer screening and about the new NGO formed. In March the National Screening Centre and the NGO together we organized a seminar for health care professionals and general public to educate and inform the audience.
I have been going to different government offices to give talks on the importance of colorectal screening during their break. The Malta National Health Screening Programmes facebook page uploaded material related to colon screening.
A new organisation Malta Colorectal Cancer Awareness Group MCRCAG was launched in February 2016. The aim of MCRCAG is to promote prevention, to campaign for more research and to offer support and assistance both to the client and to his/her family. The organization is committed to increasing survivorship by boosting awareness of the disease, so that it may be diagnosed earlier.
Education is the key to both prevention and treatment. The organisation committee members include proficient doctors in the field, nurses, surviving patients and helpers. The organisation is a voluntary and a not-for-profit organisation having the following Vision and Mission.
This NGO MCRCAG already forms part of National Cancer Platform where 15 cancer organisations form this platform together under the patronage of the President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.
The organization will regularly inform the public about this important health matter. Anyone who would like more information or to join our group MCRCAG can visit our web page: http://www.crc.org.mt/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Facebook: www.facebook.com/mcrcag
Mission StatementTo prevent cancers which are inherently preventable and continue to provide accessible and high quality cancer service geared towards improving survival and quality life.
Activities to date:February - September 2013: Health talks to the general public on colon cancer screening were delivered in various localities around Malta. The main aim of these talks were to dispel any myths and misconceptions on colon cancer and to encourage more peopl to particpate when invited for screening.
For Maltese National Health Screening Centre, ECCAM started by placing a stand in a prominent place in the capital city Valletta.
Informational flyers, pens, key chains and T-shirts were distributed from the stand during the whole week.
The material distributed was aimed to raise awareness with regards to screening.
In front of the National Screening Centre two feather flags were also placed to raise more awareness. Staff from the screening centre participated in television and radio programmes to provide information with regards to screening. In Malta, screening had started in late 2012 and due to lack of both financial and human resources this was only for persons between 60 and 64 years of age.
However, from 2015 the age range increased, and it is expected that as of December 2016, persons from 55 years to 66 will be screened. This was announced in the beginning of March when the parliamentary secretary for health visited the premises of The Center.
Later on during the month the president of Malta visited The Center which was highly publicised. She also offered to help to raise awareness by inviting EuropaColon Malta to participate in a national forum for NGO’s.
The month ended by taking part in an educational seminar on colorectal cancer screening organized in Gozo, which is a small island part of the Maltese islands. This was aimed for the general public and was highly successful.