Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 15:53 WIB

A correct diagnosis & therapy in time cuts down cancer mortality

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Jakarta, IO – Data Global Burden Cancer Report (Globocan) 2022 numbers 19.9 million new cases, with a death rate of 9.7 million. In Indonesia, 408,661 new cases and 242,988 deaths from neoplasms were recorded. Generally, patients in Indonesia are not diagnosed until their cancer has advanced to a late stage. Such delays result from a multiplicity of factors, the fault of both the patient and the cancer service system. Atypical symptoms, as well as a lack of public awareness of the importance of carrying out early detection measures, such as BSE (breast self-examination) for breast cancer, contribute to delays in diagnosis. 

In the cancer care system, problems start with primary health care (PHC), generally consisting of community health centers (Puskesmas) and primary clinics. 80% of patients present with nonspecific symptoms; doctors are not always able to identify patients at an early stage of illness. In advanced-stage cancer services, delays in diagnosis are also multifactorial: from the patient’s socio-economic factors, geographical factors according to where services are centralized in cities, nonoptimal referral systems, limiting of infrastructure for diagnosis enforcement, also the capacity and capabilities of medical personnel that still need to be improved. 

“Cancer treatment strategies must rely on strengthening early detection efforts, so that treatment is cheaper, results are better, all in support of patients’ quality of life. The public community plays a role in early detection education, in addition to the importance of collaboration in cancer treatment. I support the efforts of the Indonesian Society of Oncology (POI) to initiate dialogue to strengthen teamwork in cancer treatment, so that we can provide the best care for patients to stay healthy and productive. A healthy and productive society is a provision for Indonesia Emas 2045,” said the Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, in a focus group discussion with the theme “Closing the Cancer Care Gap; Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment in National Cancer Management” which was held on Sunday (18/2/2024). 

Meanwhile, Dr. dr. Cosphiadi Irawan, Sp.PD-KHOM, FINASIM, Chairman of POI, explained that developments in technology and cancer management provide opportunities for healing for cancer patients. Unfortunately, the majority of cancer patients in Indonesia are still unable to optimally benefit from these advances. “Diagnosis is often delayed, as is therapy. A national cancer management strategy is needed that can improve timely diagnosis and access to therapy so that cancer management results are more effective and death rates can be reduced. We also appreciate efforts to increase access to cancer therapy through BPJS Kesehatan (Healthcare and Social Security Agency),” he stated. 

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At the end of the focus group discussion, participants agreed on a joint declaration “Increasing Participation of All Stakeholders in Overcoming Delays in Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy” including improving the referral system which causes delays in diagnosis and treatment, through coordination with the Ministry of Health, BPJS Kesehatan, local governments, and private hospitals, as well as increasing the competency of doctors and primary health care workers in early detection, handling emergency cancer cases, and making it easier to refer patients to the correct health facilities. (est)

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