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1-7 April Week of Cancer

UPDATED : 02/04/2018

Both in Turkey and in the world, cancer is the second cause of death after the cardiovascular diseases. Prevention is very important considering the probability of treatment at early stages and increasing life quality in some cancer types. In this regard, various events are organized between 1-7 April to underline the importance of early diagnosis.    

Every year, 14 million persons contract cancer and 8,2 million persons die of cancer, which affect all people without any discrimination of age, gender, language, religion and race. In case it continues in the ordinary course, 22 million new cases are expected to occur in 2030.

The most common cancers among men are lung and prostate while the tobacco-related cancers are still highly important. The most common cancers among women are breast and thyroid cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Leukemia is the most common cancer as the cancer of childhood age. Based on the data of the last 5 years, it is safe to say that there has not been any increase or decrease in the cancer incidence in Turkey. Cancer incidence is lower in Turkey compared with the more developed countries like the USA and EU member countries.

At least one third of the common cancer types can be prevented through a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco, physical activity and consuming less alcohol. Furthermore, protection from UV radiation and negative professional and environmental effects will also provide prevention.

In Turkey and in the world, most of the cancer types are preventable. Especially in Turkey, the national tobacco and obesity fighting program constitutes the most important cornerstone of the cancer control. Cancer can be prevented through the action plans focused on early detection and prevention rather than the treatment. Besides, fighting with alcohol consumption and tobacco, increasing physical activity and controlling infection agents are also very important components of this process.  

Correct, adequate and reliable data are very important for cancer control. Only 8% of the world population is followed in terms of cancer registration while it is 100% in Turkey. There are active cancer registration centers in 81 provinces of Turkey providing services as of 2014.

In Turkey, screening programs are applied for breast, rectal and cervical cancer types. Cancer Early Detection, Screening and Training Centers (KETEM) were established to perform community-based cancer screening. There are currently 199 KETEM, 33 of which are mobile.      

Cancer screening is performed according to the international standards, and HPV/DNA test is used to detect cervical cancers as specified in the international cancer screening guide. In 100.000 cases with HPV positive, 400 cancer precursor lesions and 45 cancers are detected while it was 4 in 100.000 cases in smear test practices. Moreover, more than 90% of the detected cancer cases are in the first stage, which saves hundreds of women’s lives in a year.

In addition to the scientific advantages, HPV DNA tests are analyzed in central laboratories and results are obtained within maximum 10 business days. Screening mammography is evaluated at the national reporting centers at the EU standards and citizens can access to the results of both screening tests online. Referrals to the second and tertiary care services dropped to 7% from the 70% following the establishment of mammography reporting center.