|A woman receives breast cancer screening at the National K (Cancer) Hospital in Hà Nội. — Photo the hospital
HÀ NỘI — A project on improving access to innovative therapies for high-risk breast cancer patients has gained remarkable results in Việt Nam despite the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past year, participants heard at a conference in Hà Nội on Friday.
The project on improving access to innovative therapies for high-risk breast cancer patients in Việt Nam for the 2020 – 2025 period has been jointly implemented in key hospitals across the country by the Vietnam Medical Association (VMA) and Roche Vietnam since 2020.
After one year of implementation, the project has helped raise the community’s awareness with free breast cancer diagnosis for thousands of women, enhancing the capacity of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and building a database for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in Việt Nam
“The project on improving access to innovative therapies for high-risk breast cancer patients in the 2020 – 2025 period has made important contributions to achieving the objectives of the National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases like cancer in 2015–25,” said Deputy Minister of Health Professor Dr. Trần Văn Thuấn.
For many years, breast cancer patients in Việt Nam were diagnosed at late stages of the disease due to limited public awareness of breast cancer and understanding of the importance of early screening. Meanwhile, voluntary screening services were not covered by health insurance.
To increase awareness and early breast cancer detection rates among women at high risk, an official column "Breast Cancer Corner" has been launched by the Bright Future Fund (BFF) and the National Institute for Cancer Control (NCI) on the website www.nci.vn. It features 25 articles written by leading oncologists in Việt Nam, reaching over one million viewers. Besides, several workshops on topics such as "Raising awareness about breast cancer" and "Understanding breast cancer" were carried out, reaching thousands of people nationwide.
The programme highlight was the “Joining Hands for Her” campaign, which offered breast cancer screening to about 3,000 women at seven hospitals nationwide and raised the community’s awareness about breast cancer prevention and early detection, as well as encouraging local women to use regular breast screening services.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of medical staff were provided with training on multidisciplinary treatment and clinical research at five key hospitals participating in the project, including the National K (Cancer) Hospital, Bạch Mai General Hospital, Hanoi Oncology Hospital, HCM City Oncology Hospital and Chợ Rẫy Hospital.
Another important objective of the project is to build a database for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. After a year of implementation, 11 health-economic research projects have been implemented on breast cancer screening and treatment. The research results have provided useful information and recommendations for the database, the creation of appropriate strategies, and the sustainable improvement of quality of life for patients with breast cancer.
According to GLOBOCAN 2020, with more than 21,500 new cases diagnosed per year and counts for 25.8 per cent of all female cancer patients, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Vietnamese women. At the same time, with 9,345 deaths per year, breast cancer is the third most fatal cancer type in Việt Nam, after liver and lung cancer. — VNS