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#Time4Change: Portugal

Published on 22 March 2018 back to previous

In Portugal, there are around 13,000 new cases of digestive cancers each year, of which 7,000 are colorectal cancer.

Until recently there was no national screening programme, but the work of EuropaColon Portugal was instrumental in achieving this goal at the end of 2016. At the launch, the Secretary of State commented: "This action is largely due to the way EuropaColon Portugal has pressed the Health Government guardianship to achieve it,” and it remains a proud success for the organisation.

However, their work is far from over. The organisation has already identified disparities in different regions, and is keen to ensure there is a unified plan applied at a national level. In addition, studies suggest relatively low levels of health literacy in Portugal, meaning awareness programmes are vital.

Striving for equality

It’s #Time4Change! “We want equality of health services for all the country and with no inequalities,” said Vitor Neves, President of EuropaColon Portugal. “We want to keep raising awareness and reduce the levels of incidence and mortality of Digestive Cancer in Portugal. Diseases like colorectal cancer can be detected early so we can stop it. We need to unite and demand more for a better health and a brighter future!             

There is a need to change our mentalities in Portugal regarding health priorities, not only by health decision-makers but also by the general population. There is also a need for greater awareness of the responsibility of patients for monitoring their own state of health. Investment in early diagnosis is necessary so that people can have access to timely treatment. To achieve this goal, it is essential to increase the information to the population so that it can be an alert for certain signs and symptoms.”

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