According to the medical professionals of the country, the Early Diagnosis Programme for Colon Cancer is one of the best implemented cancer prevention programmes in Lithuania. Lithuania can be also proud of its results abroad – in terms of the number of the residents having undergone health examination for cancer of this type Lithuania is among the EU countries that demonstrate the best results of implementation of this programme.
Lithuania has been implementing this preventive programme for nearly 10 years. Indeed, it was launched only in several counties of the country, and only later, approximately five years ago, the programme was introduced throughout the country. Individuals aged from 50 to 74 years of age who are covered by compulsory health insurance have access once in two years to free of charge health screening under the said programme. The services provided to them are covered from the budget of the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund (CHIF).
"The results of participation of Lithuanian men and women in the said programme are similar to those of the residents of Northern Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom. 46 to 56% of individuals in our country who are entitled to health screening under the programme, specifically individuals in the target groups, seek medical attention for the purpose of health screening under the said programme. This good trend is expected to persist in the future. Participation of the local people in other European countries in the Early Diagnosis Programme for Colon Cancer is significantly lower", – says Jurgita Grigarienė, the Chief Specialist of the Service Expertise and Control Department of the NHIF.
According to her, the pleasing fact is that the residents of Lithuania are active in terms of health screening under this programme. Last year, 241 thousand of individuals sought medical attention for the purpose of health screening. Compared to 2017, it is about 11,000 individuals more. There are about 964 thousand people in our country, in other words individuals in the target groups, who have access to health screening under the programme. Throughout the programme period, i.e. from the moment the programme was launched to the end of 2018, about 847 thousand individuals have at least once undergone examination of health for colon cancer.
"Colon cancer is one of the most insidious oncological diseases because its symptoms are not always obvious. Consequently, patients who have no complaints about health issues and participating in the programme can be diagnosed in the early stages not only with the oncological disease but also with precancerous conditions of colon, treatment of which prevents cancer", – says Associate Professor, Dr Saulius Mikalauskas who is the member of the coordination group of the Early Diagnosis Programme for Colon Cancer, and physician who specialises in abdominal surgery.
Occult bleeding stool test, which is an initial study of this prevention, is easy to do. If an answer to the test is negative, there is no need to repeat the test that needs to be done every 2 years for men and women from 50 to 75 years of age. If an answer to the test is positive, then the general practitioner refers the patient to medical specialist for colonoscopy. The disease is precisely diagnosed during this test. Sometimes precancerous lesions are removed or biopsy is done simultaneously. Patients who have had a biopsy done during colonoscopy and who have been diagnosed with colon cancer are referred to specialized medical institutions for treatment.
Currently, the patients in Lithuania have access to free of charge health screening under 4 cancer prevention programmes - prostate, colon cancer, cervix and breast.
The specialists call on the patients to be concerned with the state of own health and to seek medical attention for the purpose of health screening. The general practitioner is the first in line to be approached regarding the tests under the prevention programmes.
The NHIF invites you:
Your questions are welcome by email email@example.com or phone: local (8 5) 232 2222, international +370 5 232 2222