Skin cancer prevention campaign reveals results, plans
The Ministry of Health and organizers of an early detection of skin cancer campaign have presented the results of the project.Source: B92
"Pregled za sve" ("Examination for all") is organized by Eucerin Serbia and the B92 Fund.
They also reached an agreement on the continuation of cooperation in the coming period of the project's implementation.
Within the campaign, dermatology offices in state hospitals in 40 towns in Serbia received dermatoscopes necessary for early detection of skin cancer, while lectures in the field of dermoscopy have been attended by 80 percent of dermatologists from state and private surgeries around Serbia - it was announced during a press conference on Wednesday.
"I have the great pleasure to confirm that have been able to implement all the activities planned for the first phase of the action 'Examination for All'. By donating 83 dermatoscopes, we are ensuring that 56 state dermatological institutions in Serbia can perform dermoscopy examinations. Also, free education from the field of dermoscopy was organized within the framework of our action, attended by 80 percent dermato-venereologist from state and private practices from all over Serbia. In parallel with these activities, we conducted a campaign to inform citizens of all ages and social backgrounds of the importance of prevention, regular self-examination of the skin and dermatological examination. So I believe that now, at the end of the first phase of the action we can say that we are one step closer to the goal - to change the negative statistics that exists in Serbia when it comes to early diagnosis and treatment of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer," said Nada Miletic Nevajda, representative of Eucerin Serbia. She also thanked the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia for their support in the previous activities. "I believe that our continued cooperation will contribute to fulfill the objectives that we have planned as the campaign continues - for each state has dermatological surgery to have a dermatoscope, as well as for all dermatologists in Serbia to actively perform dermoscopy," said Miletic Nevajda.
"Such a campaign was sorely needed in Serbia. We must not forget that globally skin cancer is diagnosed in 130,000 persons, 54,000 in Europe. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of patients has doubled every year, growing by 6 percent. These are alarming figures, which oblige us to do everything in our power to get this disease diagnosed in time, to improve mechanisms for early detection that, with adequate medical response, provide a complete cure of skin cancer in up to 90 percent of cases. Within the action 'Examination for All' in just six months very much has been done in the field of public information about prevention, and in equipping state medical institutions, and educating doctors who are now able to provide adequate diagnosis. We will continue to actively support the project and we expect that at the end of the first year of its implementation we wil already be able to, based on the number of registered examination, speak about concrete results in terms of early detection of skin cancer. In that way we will follow the example of other health systems," said Prof. Dr. Berislav Vekic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Health.
"The first phase of the campaign is behind us and we are very proud of our achievements," said Veran Matic, President of B92 Fund Board, and added: "I must point out that this is one of the most efficient actions taken by the B92 Fund in the health area, because we as early as June managed to provide all dermatoscopes and within two months implement education for dermatologists. So, dermatoscopes are there, dermatologists are trained to work with them. There is no more room for excuses. I once again appeal on citizens to get examined, because preventive examinations and early diagnosis saves lives. Speaking about future plans, Matic said: "In the next phase we will continue at the same pace. In the first phase we made sure that every town gets at least one device, and all surgeries will get dermatoscopes regardless of whether there are more than one is some towns. We also plan an advanced educational program for dermatologists and training for general practitioners because they are the first to whom patients often turn to when they suspect some changes. We hope that media will continue to help us achieve as intense as possible public information campaign on the importance of regular skin examinations."
"In Serbia, only one-fifth of melanoma, a skin cancer that carries the greatest risk to health, get discovered in time, in contrast to developed European countries where over 80 percent are diagnosed at an early stage when the chance of survival is 90 percent," said Prof. Dr. Lidija Kandolf Sekulovic, secretary of Intersectional Committee for Melanoma of the Serbian Medical Society and member of the executive board of the European Society for Dermatological Oncology (EADO), from the Clinic for Dermatology and Venereal Diseases of the VMA Medical School, and added: "In Serbia there is very poorly developed awareness about the potential danger of negative sunlight or artificial sources such as tanning booths. Our citizens do not have the habit of regular skin self-examination, as well as regular dermatological examination of moles. Testifying to this are advanced forms of this disease, but also other forms of skin cancer that are most commonly encountered. Patients often see their doctor and dermatologist late, not only because they do not have the habit to inspect their skin, but also because they were not able to receive adequate medical diagnostics in institutions of primary and secondary health care in their area. Raising awareness about responsible behavior in the sun, but also generally responsible behavior toward one's skin and health, as well as the availability of this type of examination is the only way to change the negative, and one could say, devastating statistics in Serbia when it comes to early diagnosis and treatment of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. We want to convey a message to everyone that skin cancer is curable with a simple surgical intervention if we know how to recognize it, free ourselves of fear and see the doctor in time."
"Before the beginning of the 'Examination for All' campaign we had a situation in Serbia where towns with 50,000 people had no dermatoscopes. Many colleagues also did not have the opportunity to undergo training in dermoscopy, because it was unavailable, because it was expensive. That is why I believe that successive and systematic equipping of health facilities with dermatoscopes and training for dermatologists will contribute to adequate medical diagnosis which is very, if not the most important when it comes to skin cancer. Early detection of potentially dangerous changes on the skin is crucial to effective treatment, that is, for surgical removal after which the patient can be continue with their life completely normally without any consequences. The use of dermatoscopes in fact provides an insight into the changes on the skin that otherwise cannot be seen with the naked eye, and digital dermoscopy allows the resulting image to be saved on a computer and compared with earlier dermoscopic situation, or sent to additional expertise. There are no accurate records, but the impression is that a campaign of this type has influenced more people to have examinations. It's still not massive and on a level to which we aspire. We hope that the continuation of the campaign will contribute to promote awareness of the importance having examinations," said Doc. Dr. Dusan Skiljevic from the Clinic of Dermatology and Venereology of the Clinical Center of Serbia, a member of the Expert Council for the campaign.