The coronavirus pandemic has left its mark
on cancer prevention and care for patients with cancer. End of April, the
European Parliament's Special Committee on Cancer Action (BECA) summarised its report about the impact COVID-19 has had on cancer care.
The committee based its work on a consultation process in which German Social
Insurance also participated (see
Cancer care has suffered
The BECA report coincided with observations
that had also been made in Germany: risk products such as tobacco or alcohol
were being consumed more frequently and health professionals were often being
confronted with anxiety, stress and psychological trauma. Early detection
examinations were less frequently attended and cancer screening invitations
were often ignored.
Fewer cancer operations in Germany as well
Significantly fewer malignant neoplasms
were also diagnosed in 2020 than in the previous year and fewer operations were
performed in German hospitals: case rates for colorectal resections decreased
by 12 per cent, gastric resections decreased by 10 per cent and breast
(mammary) resections decreased by four per cent (RWI analysis February 2021). The assessment of many
organisations that participated in the consultation is that the corona-related
gaps in cancer care will result in increasing burdens being placed on health
systems in the short term. This will require a reaction.
As the vaccination strategy against
COVID-19 progresses, other care issues are coming to the fore again. This also
applies to the fight against cancer – a matter close to the hearts of
Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and her health commissioner, Stella
Kyriakides. With its action plan, the EC has put together a comprehensive,
integrated package of measures for tackling cancer.
Cancer is often preventable
Getting a grip on cancer – this is also the
title of an online event organised by the European Representation of German
Social Insurance and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance
Funds to be held on 14 June 2021. The two organisations will focus on
prevention, early detection and the provision and affordability of drug therapies
as part of the cancer plan. More information can be found on this website under
the “Events” tab.