Addressing the delegates of the 2nd National Oncology Conference, President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, commended on the dedication of the team at the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre, thanks to whom, patients can access an excellent standard of treatment and support.
The President said that through the work of the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation and the National Cancer Platform Association, she has encountered many individuals together with their families who require support from the point of diagnosis. On cancer research, the President said that the newly established Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation is contributing to “our national commitment to cancer care,” whilst also providing innovative opportunities for cancer research.
“I am pleased to note that just like the efforts of these diverse entities, this conference, continues to affirm more ways to the development of more effective care, in a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach,” she said.
This conference provides the perfect space for discussion to enhance awareness and education about the realities of cancer in the Maltese Islands.
Quoting Eurostat figures, President Coleiro Preca stated that around 700,000 men and more than 540,000 women die of cancer, each year, in the European Union, which accounts for approximately 29% and 22% respectively, of all male and female deaths across member states.
“Furthermore, according to data from the World Health Organisation, while the mortality trends for certain cancers in Malta have declined, there has been an increase in others. Breast Cancer among women, prostate cancer among men, and the incidence of colorectal cancer and lung cancer, remain of great concern,” The President said, whilst also noting “worrying statistics” from the World Cancer Research Fund, which state that cancer cases in Malta are expected to rise by a shocking 49%, by 2030.
I believe that we have the responsibility to ask ourselves why certain kinds of cancer are on the increase.
On prevention, President Coleiro Preca said that while some cancer-causing exposures, such as tobacco smoke and the rays of the sun, can be easily avoided, others might be more difficult to avoid, especially if risk factors are present in the air we breathe, the water and food that we consume, or the materials we use to carry out our jobs.
For this reason, the President called for exploration and the creation of synergies, between our authorities, our medical professionals, hospitals, research entities, and civil society, for the prevention of the potential causes of cancer, and for the development of more effective methods of treatment and care.
“If our environment is a major contributor to certain chronic illnesses and causes of cancer, then we must strive to improve it, not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of future generations,” President Coleiro Preca said.