Conference on cancer prevention

Bob, I've got cancer

Every year, some 58,000 Czechs are diagnosed with cancer. While there has not been a general increase in the incidence of cancer over the past three years, the number of women with lung cancer is on the rise, a consequence of the growing number of women smokers. 60 percent of all cancer cases could be prevented through healthier lifestyles, and Czech medical professionals and NGOs are working on fresh, more extensive cancer prevention campaigns. This will be one of the topics discussed at a national conference set to start in Prague on October 1st . Olga Szantova asked the main organizer, the Chairman of Prague's League against Cancer, Professor Zdenek Dienstbier, why this special conference was needed.

Bob,  I've got cancer
"The reason is quite simple, we need to start more contacts and more collaboration between the non-governmental and the professional oncological spheres. Our main aim should be cancer prevention and of course to help patients after treatment. But, this we can only organize when there will be information about these activities between the professional clinics and departments."

Do we have many organizations or NGO's that deal with the problems of cancer?

"There are three professional organizations in our country. And there are about 50 non-governmental organizations, but only the League gives the possibility of exchange between these NGOs."

Would you say, Professor Dienstbier, that Czech doctors and the medical profession in general, pay less attention to preventive care than in other countries of the developed world?

"From the telephone helpline it seems that a large number of our doctors don't know how to communicate with patients."

There is a huge difference between information and changes in conduct. Do you see that as a major problem in this country?

"Yes..Yes.. You are right. That's a very complicated problem, because what we need is to ask especially the young generation to think much more about their health. Because, young smokers believe they can never get cancer. Cancer develops over 10, 15 years and this is why we stress cancer prevention to the young people."

Is the prevalence of smoking among young people and children in fact higher in the Czech republic than in the rest of the developed world?

"Well, it is. Because, in our country every fourth teenager is a smoker and our interest should be what has been done in Nordic countries. In Nordic countries only 12 % of men and 18% of women smoke. We have to try to use all knowledge and apply it to this country."

Author: Olga Szantová
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