“We can be very, very proud of everything that is possible in Austria, everything that succeeds,” emphasized Wolfgang Hilbe, President of the Austrian Society for Hematology and Medical Oncology (OeGHO). In recent years, for example, a significant improvement in the probability of survival has been achieved in tumors of the kidney, neck and head and the stomach, explained Monika Hackl, head of the National Cancer Registry.
A good prognosis is achieved in breast, prostate, thyroid and testicular cancer. Here, the cumulative relative survival three years after diagnosis is 90.6 to 96.6 percent. At the other end of the spectrum are lung, esophageal, liver and pancreatic cancers at 30.2 to just 15.6 percent, Hackl said.
Prevention falls short
According to Sevelda, prevention and early detection are still neglected. In order to avoid 50 percent of all cancer deaths in Europe, the following recommendations would have to be implemented: Regular exercise and a healthy diet to avoid obesity, vaccinations against HPV, hepatitis B and C, avoidance of nicotine and excessive alcohol consumption and participation in the recommended early detection examinations .
There have been groundbreaking innovations in healthcare in recent years, around 130 new drugs in the past five years, the effectiveness of which is constantly monitored. Ansgar Weltermann from Cancer Aid also mentioned molecular pathology, nuclear medical diagnostics and robotic surgery. At the same time, efforts are being made to improve contact with patients, who often have difficulty “digesting” the bad news of a cancer diagnosis and understanding the doctor’s explanations in order to make therapy decisions themselves. There are trainers who go to hospitals, among other things, to train the doctors accordingly, reported Weltermann.
Last but not least, research is needed so that innovation can happen, according to Armin Gerger, scientific director of the cancer report. In 2021, local scientists increased the total of original papers in oncological journals to 724 (2020: 670).
The report did not collect data on the general status of care in an international comparison. A few years ago, however, such comparisons always put you among the top ranks, emphasized Sevelda, which is partly due to the low availability of new drugs. In contrast to antibiotics, there are currently no delivery bottlenecks in the oncological sector.
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