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Number of cancer patients in Latvia increases by 39% in 10 years

BC, Riga, 29.03.2015.Print version
During the past ten years, the number of cancer patients in Latvia increased 39%, according to Gunta Purkalne, Director of the Clinic of Oncology of Stradins Hospital, during the conference "How to reduce cancer mortality rate in Latvia?" on March 27th, writes LETA.

She said that in 2014, a total of 74,647 residents of Latvia were diagnosed with cancer. One-fourth of all deaths in the world are caused by cancer. However, the number cancer-related deaths in the European Union (EU) during the past ten years reduced by 1%, while Latvia is still hobbling behind.


Purkalne said that the number of deaths by cancer in the EU has reduced thanks to early diagnoses. According to Purkalne, oncologists are concerned about the death rate, and Latvia still registers a high one. The situation regarding early diagnosis is rather poor in Latvia, and in 30-35% of cases cancer is diagnosed during its later stages. With regard to innovative anti-cancer drugs, Latvia demonstrates the worst situation among all EU member states.


Health Minister Guntis Belevics (Greens/Farmers) said that the risk of getting cancer increases due to unhealthy lifestyle – one-third of Latvian residents are smokers, 44% regularly consume alcohol, while 50% are overweight. Patients are also reluctant to see their family practitioners and to undergo cancer screening tests.


The minister added though that during the past five years, the reimbursement drug list for cancer patients has been expanded.


Participating in the discussion were Belevics, Purkalne, Deputy Director of the National Health Service, Andrejs Doveiks, and other experts.

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