BANJALUKA – Up to 6,000 people get cancer annually in the Republic of Srpska, while the number of deaths is close to half of that number, said the head of the Oncology Clinic at the University Clinical Center /UKC/ of the Republic of Srpska Zdenka Gojković.
Gojković said that these are figures that really require raising citizens’ awareness of the importance of preventive examinations, because early detection of the disease increases the chances of a positive treatment outcome.
“Lung cancer is the most common in men, and breast cancer in women,” Gojković told reporters in Banja Luka at a meeting organized to mark the World Day against Malignant Diseases.
She pointed out that UKC is significantly increasing its capacity to treat oncology patients, and she expects the construction of a new oncology and hematology facility to be completed in three years.
Gojković added that she advocates the use of cannabis for medical purposes, especially when it comes to serious illnesses, and she believes that this idea will have a positive epilogue after the resolution of certain legal and by-laws.
Mirko Stanetić, a pulmonologist from the Clinic for Lung Diseases at the University of Warsaw, stated that the treatment of cancer patients has become very effective in recent years, which is why it is very important to point out the possibilities of early detection and prevention of the disease.
He added that there are certain difficulties, but that they are significantly less than a few years ago.
“If someone had said ten years ago that lung cancer in an advanced stage would live for five, seven or ten years – I thought it was an impossible mission. When I was a student, we learned that lung cancer in an advanced stage lives for two to three months. Among us are people who live for ten years. This fact alone gives us the strength, will and energy to change the way of thinking about all malignant diseases and to be the place where the fight against malignant diseases will be conducted in an efficient way”, pointed out Stanetić.
Ana Korljan Stjepanović, a member of the Association of Lung Cancer Patients “Disi za život”, says that they are fighting for the prevention of the disease, but also against stigmatization, which mainly refers to blaming the patients themselves for being sick because they are smokers or similar.
“A large number of patients are not smokers and there is an increasing number of young patients who could not suffer the consequences even from passive smoking. Let’s say even twenty-five-year-olds get sick,” said Stjepanović and added that smoking is also dangerous, as is increasing air pollution.
President of the Association of Women Suffering from Breast Cancer “Iskra”, Suzana Kekić, says that early detection of cancer in 90 percent of cases is a curable disease, which is why they are appealing for the introduction of screening mammography.
“The number of patients is increasing year by year. Unfortunately, more and more younger population of diseases. In the Banja Luka Breast Center last year, there were 230 malignant diseases, and at the level of Republika Srpska, there are 500 to 600 such diseases,” said Kekić.
President of the Association of Melanoma Patients of Republika Srpska Jasminka Sredojević pointed out the necessity of availability of innovative therapies for a larger number of patients, because waiting lists are long and patients are dissatisfied.
(www.palelive.com / Srna)