Women diagnosed with breast cancer or other diseases that require specialist treatment are referred (outside the program) for further diagnostics or treatment to healthcare providers who have contracts with the National Health Fund for appropriate types of services.
Purpose of the program
The aim of the program is to reduce the mortality rate due to breast cancer to the level achieved in the leading countries in this field of the European Union and to raise the level of knowledge of women about breast cancer prevention and to introduce diagnostic procedures throughout the country.
Description of the health problem
Breast cancer is the most common malignant neoplasm in women. It accounts for approximately 20% of all cancer cases in Polish women. It occurs more often after the menopause. The risk of developing the disease increases after the age of 50.
The observation of the incidence rates in individual age groups showed that a significant increase in the incidence occurred in the age range from 50 to 69 years of age.
Reasons for the existence of a health problem
The etiology of breast cancer is still not clear enough. Moreover, the same neoplasm can be induced by several or even several carcinogenic factors. Increasingly, however, the risk of developing breast cancer is indicated by genetic determinants: in Poland, about 10% of breast cancer cases occur in women with gene mutations, most often in BRCA1.
The most important thing is to detect the neoplasm as early as possible. Mammography is the test that enables the diagnosis of pathological changes in the breast tissue. Its sensitivity is the highest – it is estimated that for postmenopausal women it is 90-95%. In the group of women aged 50-69 who underwent annual or 2-year mammography tests, the mortality rate decreased by 25-30%. It is recommended to perform mammography in 2 projections: every 2 years in low-risk women aged 50-69, and every year in high-risk women.
The importance of the health problem for society.
Populations without screening have high mortality rates from invasive advanced breast cancer. Invasive breast cancer requires costly treatment. Depending on the stage of clinical advancement, it is surgery (breast amputation), radiotherapy or systemic treatment (chemotherapy, hormone therapy). All of these treatments are very costly.
In the USA and in the European Union countries, it was recognized that the most effective instrument for reducing the incidence and improving the results of cancer treatment are national cancer control programs. These programs are financed from the state budget, and the activities under these programs, apart from population screening, also include the purchase of modern diagnostic and therapeutic equipment as well as educational activities for the public and medical staff.