Czech Republic ranks eighth in Cancer Preparedness Index

Cancer cells

 The Czech Republic’s readiness to fight cancer is above average, suggests an annual survey compiled by the British business weekly Economist. According to the so-called Index of Cancer Preparedness, which includes 29 countries from all over the world, the Czech Republic is eighth best prepared for what the Economist calls a global cancer epidemic.

The Index of Cancer Preparedness looks at 45 indicators relevant to cancer control, focusing on three main domains, which include policy and planning, care delivery and health system and governance.

Australia placed top of the fresh ranking, followed by Canada and Germany, while Romania, India and Egypt at the other end of the scale. The Czech Republic finished in eighth spot overall, ahead of Sweden, South Korea and Japan.

The Czech health system scored exceptionally well when it comes to accessibility of health care, says Matúš Sámel, analyst of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“The Czech Republic scored really well in the overall assessment of the health-care system, where it finished just outside the top five. It is doing especially well when it comes to health care accessibility. The area of national coordination and national strategies was identified as its main weakness.”

Matúš Sámel | Photo: The Economist

While the incidence of cancer has been steadily increasing in the Czech Republic over the past decades, the number of people dying of cancer has remained more or less the same.

However, the Czech Republic still has one of the world’s highest incidence of certain types of cancer, namely colon and kidney cancer, which are the most common cause of death after cardiovascular diseases.

According to the latest data from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, Czech doctors diagnose nearly 90,000 cancers each year and around 27,000 people die as a result of the disease.

The main factors behind the increase in cases is the aging of the population and also better screening. According to the Cancer Preparedness Index, the Czech Republic is doing particularly well in early detection of the disease. Matúš Sámel again:

“Universal cancer screening is free of charge within the Czech Republic’s health system. It shows that access to universal health care, and screenings especially, is a very important factor.”

Breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings are now available in the Czech Republic as part of regular preventive check-ups with a GP or gynaecologist.

Analysts also highlight vaccination against HPV, the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer in women. While the vaccination is not compulsory, it is covered by insurance companies.

The Czech Republic also did very well, for example, in terms of the density of radiation or clinical oncologists per capita. On the other hand, the index shows that the Czech Republic is still lagging behind some other EU countries when it comes to cancer survival rate. It should also improve the accessibility of psychological care for oncological patients, suggests the Economist’s index.