Spain launches cancer surveillance initiative

Spain's Cancer Surveillance System

Spain's Minister for Health, Monica Garcia. Credit:

Is there a new way to combat cancer more effectively? At the Spanish Summit against Cancer, an important announcement was made by the Health Minister, Monica Garcia, marking a significant step forward in the ongoing battle against this disease.

Following World Cancer Day, Monica Garcia revealed plans for the Cancer Surveillance System during her speech at the summit’s closing ceremony.

The event, orchestrated by the Spanish Cancer Patient Group, took place on Monday, February 5, emphasising the collaborative effort needed to tackle cancer across Spain’s autonomous communities.

A united front against cancer

‘The Government of Spain’s every action in the fight against cancer places patients at its heart, underscoring the necessity for their participation and collaboration,’ Garcia stated.

She highlighted the government’s comprehensive approach: ‘to prevent, screen, treat, and care as much as possible, and from all sides.’

This system aims to enhance research and the assessment of control and prevention programs by centralising and coordinating cancer surveillance.

‘Cancer represents a challenge that calls for the active participation of the whole of society,’ Garcia reminded attendees, pointing to the importance of a unified effort from governments, health authorities, professionals, experts, and patients alike.

Strengthening the national health system

The upcoming Royal Decree will establish the State Public Health Surveillance Network, incorporating the Cancer Surveillance System.

Garcia’s commitment to improving the National Health System was clear, ensuring ‘all citizens have equal access to screening tests, affordable treatment, psychological care, and a comprehensive care network.’

Moreover, the Ministry of Health is pushing for the recognition of Genetics as a specialised field within Specialised Health Training. ‘The creation of this speciality will allow us to improve our approach to cancer,’ Garcia asserted, underlining the transformative potential of genetic testing.

Addressing challenges and inequalities

In Spain, the incidence of cancer is expected to reach 341,000 cases by 2040, and between 30 to 50 per cent of these cases are preventable.

Garcia underscored the importance of prevention, reducing social inequalities, and increasing participation in screening programs.

‘We have a duty to tackle the fight against cancer in a multidisciplinary way,’ she stated, highlighting the need to address the impact of inequality.

The battle against smoking was also stressed as a priority. As the most significant preventable risk factor for cancer, the Spanish government is leading the charge to create more smoke-free spaces to protect non-smokers from so-called ‘second-hand smoke’ and address new smoking patterns among the youth.

In this concerted effort to combat cancer, the Spanish government’s initiatives reflect a deep understanding of the disease’s complexities and the multifaceted approach required to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

Through community collaboration, genetic testing, and equitable access to treatment, Spain is setting a precedent in the global fight against cancer.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.