In spite of stricter laws banning smoking in public places, including cafes, bars and nightclubs, that have been enforced since 2010, deaths due to lung cancer in Greece show no sign of abating, and actually rose in 2011, scientists reported.
The figures showed that there were still 7,000 deaths related to lung cancer every year in Greece, with scientists noting that the disease has become a public health problem of epidemic proportions.
The number of incidents treated by cancer clinics in public hospitals has increased over the last year – an increase attributed to both a rise in the number of incidents and the economic crisis that sends people that would have otherwise sought private health care to the public health system.
Cases at the ‘Sotiria’ Hospital cancer clinic have increased by 24-30 percent as a result, while lung cancer remains the top cause of death among both men and women, surpassing breast cancer for the latter.
The figures were presented during a press conference to announce the 2nd International Conference on Lung Cancer “From the Laboratory to Clinical Practice” that will be held in Athens on February 3-4.
Doctors note that there have been minimal improvements in patient survival rates once cancer is diagnosed over the years and that the chemotherapy normally used to treat such cases had reached its limits.
“We need different strategies, beyond chemotherapy, in order to achieve a significant extension of patient survival and to ensure a satisfactory quality of life for them,” they noted.