Last year 13,809 died in Croatia from invasive cancers and the National Cancer Plan, which should contribute to reducing those grim numbers, is expected to be put to the government before the end of the year, Health Minister Milan Kujunzdic said on Friday.
In Croatia, a patient is diagnosed with cancer every 22 minutes, while every 38 minutes someone dies from cancer, and the experts who prepared the national plan consider that its implementation could save 4,500 lives in the next ten years.
"The point is to implement the plan. If the plan is not backed financially, it will be just another frustration of us," said Eduard Vrdoljak, president of the Croatian Oncology Society and head of the task force that prepared the plan.
The plan will cost HRK 1.5 billion over a period of 10 years and comprises 228 measures that include investment in primary prevention and early diagnosis as well as in infrastructure - a national oncology network, a national oncology data base and the monitoring of its implementation in order to achieve its main aim and that is to improve the results of treatment and to reduce the fatality rate, Vrdoljak said.
If Croatia succeeds in that, that will be the best investment in the survival of the Croatian nation and the reform of Croatia's health sector, he added.
Croatian cancer patients have access to state-of-the-art therapy, immunotherapy and genetic therapy, and about HRK 700-800 million is spent on that out of a total of HRK 1.4 billion in the fund for particularly expensive medicines.