July 19, 2024 | 1:13


Expansion of colorectal cancer screening in the Basque Country up to age 74

Osakidetza may hire non-EU medical and nursing personnel

Jesus Carames

May 15, 2024 | 7:00 p.m.

The Health Department of the Basque Government and Osakidetza have announced a plan to extend the colorectal cancer screening program to the entire Basque population between 50 and 74 years old, highlighting its positive impact on cost-effectiveness, efficiency and equity.

The Basque Government and Osakidetza have developed a strategy to expand the colorectal cancer screening program, extending the age of participation to 74 years. This measure, according to the Ministry of Health, promises to significantly improve results in terms of cost-effectiveness, efficiency and equity in health care.

Euskadi, pioneer in colorectal cancer screening since 2009

Euskadi has been a leader in the implementation of colorectal cancer screening programs. In 2009, this program was launched, and by 2013 it had already been extended to the entire Basque population between 50 and 69 years old, being the first autonomous community to achieve this objective. Currently, the program continues to be a benchmark at the state and European level, with a participation of 72%, one of the highest in the country and the European Union.

For four years, the program has also included people over 70 years old, reinforcing protocols and increasing the offer to respond to the needs generated by the pandemic. These actions have allowed the program to reach the entire target population and are now considering extending the screening age to 74 years.

Impact of the Osakidetza screening program

Since its inception, the Osakidetza colorectal cancer screening program has allowed the detection of 4.519 malignant tumors, 71% of them in early stages. This achievement translates into a 95% five-year survival rate for program participants. Annually, approximately 300.000 people between the ages of 50 and 70 are invited to participate in screening, with a participation rate of 72% and adherence to colonoscopies of 91% in positive cases.

These data underline the importance of prevention and early detection policies in the fight against cancer, highlighting the crucial role of Osakidetza in promoting healthy lifestyle habits and reducing the main risk factors.

Early detection: key to reducing incidence and mortality

Colon and rectal cancer is the most common cancer in the Basque Country, although its incidence and mortality have decreased significantly in the last two decades in both sexes. Early detection is essential to reduce the number of cases and deaths associated with this disease. Although the cases detected are almost twice as many in men as in women, female participation in the program is 74%, compared to 68% for men.

The Department of Health highlights the importance of participation in the screening program, urging all people who have not yet joined to do so, given the importance it has for their present and future health and quality of life. Adherence to these programs not only improves the chances of early detection, but also increases survival rates and reduces the burden of cancer on the population.

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