Cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality within our society. The annual mortality rate attributable to cancer in the Maltese Islands is reaching 29% of all deaths. Much has been achieved in the last few years in the management and care of cancer patients. The new specialized Oncology Hospital with cutting edge linear accelerators, together with a strong investment in human resources and the introduction of seamless cancer care pathways, have been game changers in the way we treat cancer. We now need to build on this success. This cancer plan details how we will be doing just this.
The addition of new cancer medicines to the Government Formulary in a planned and sustainable manner over the early years of this Plan will strengthen treatment options. Consolidation of the multidisciplinary approach to cancer care and the positioning of the patient in the centre of the care plan will allow our patients to receive the best care in all of its aspects.
The advent of precision medicine is making cancer care a more and more personalized affair, with targeted, tailor-made treatments. This calls for increased research efforts. The National Cancer Plan proposes a Cancer Research Foundation to coordinate and lead cancer research in the Maltese Islands.
As the Maltese population grows demographically older and the incidence and prevalence of cancers increases, prevention becomes even more important. This Plan outlines the efforts we, as a national health system, need to dedicate to prevention. Indeed, resources and financing channelled directly towards prevention will be significantly increased during the term of this plan.
The targets set out by this National Cancer Plan are ambitious. However, I am confident that given the dedication, competence and clinical skills of our professionals these targets will be met to the benefit of our patients and society.
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