SOCIETY
Cancer Control Measures: Raising Awareness in Georgia
08 January, 2018
In Georgia, about 10,000 new cases of tumor are observed annually. Over the last three years, tumor cases have increased by 36-37%. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, last year, 6,819 people died due to tumors.

The National Center for Disease Control and Public Health states that the increased tumor cases are not caused by the rate of the disease itself, but due to the regulation of its registration. "The cancer population register was only
introduced in Georgia in 2015, showing the correct figures," said Amiran Gamkrelidze, Head of Disease Control Center.

Specialists link the increase in the number of tumors to medical insurance, availability of health care and the increase of visits to doctors. However, statistically, there are more cases where the disease is detected late. People need to have more information about the importance of early detection of cancer in order to take the necessary treatment and prevent unwanted consequences.

Oncologists say that the most effective weapon against cancer is its detection at early stages and prevention that is supported by promoting a healthy lifestyle among the population and involving healthy populations in cancer-screening programs. The citizens of Georgia can undertake a state-sponsored tumor diagnosis program which is free of charge, namely: breast tests for persons from 40 to 70 years old (mammography and mammogram consultation, cytology or ultrasound); cervical tests for persons from 25 to 60 years old (Pap test and if required - colposcopy); large intestinal tests for persons from 50 to 70 years old (tested on occult bleeding); and prostate tests for persons from 50 to 70 years old (prostate specific antigen test).

The awareness of the population plays an important role in preventive and early detection measures. One of the most important measures is the awareness of the first tier of healthcare providers, meaning rural / family doctors and nurses. One of their functions is to educate the population and provide information about preventive and early detection activities, and they may be able to direct a healthy population to participate in the state-sponsored cancer screening programs. This depends on the competence and qualification of the rural doctors and nurses, and whether women visit screening centers, especially if there are no obvious symptoms.

The Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the Czech Development Agency and the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, aims at raising the awareness of family doctors on oncology issues. Czech Republic Caritas, Oncoprevention Center and Center "Tanadgoma" carry out educational measures on prevention and early detection of cancer.  

In the framework of the project, in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Guria and Tbilisi, Georgian and Czech trainers conducted trainings for rural / family doctors and nurses on oncology issues aimed at strengthening the role of the first tier of healthcare in cancer control measures. In addition, educational activities are underway in order to overcome the stigma related to cancer. At the meetings, Samegrelo and Guria populations were provided with necessary information on the importance of cancer prevention and early detection. Most importantly, thanks to the Czech efforts, a screening center will soon be opened in Zugdidi, equipped with the most advanced technologies.

Author: Vazha Tavberidze

Source: Georgia Today 


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