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Movement Against Cancer Launches An All-Russia Cancer Awareness Campaign to Promote Early Screening and Cancer Detection Programs in Russia's Regions

MOSCOW, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Movement Against Cancer (MAC), cancer patient advocacy group in Russia, will conduct a public education campaign to urge people in Russia to undergo early screening tests and diagnostic procedures to detect breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer -- the types of cancer that could be cured if detected early.

One of the most serious problems with cancer treatment in Russia is a very low rate of early detection (stage I and stage II tumors), while in most cases the disease is diagnosed at very advanced stages when treatment options are less effective and much more costly. MAC efforts will be supported by the Russian government, which has launched a program to reduce cancer mortality rates.

The launch of the public education campaign is the initial stage of the Movement Against Cancer activity program for 2008.

"We are starting this campaign because cancer death rates remain very high in Russia," said Antonina Gromova, leader of the Moscow-based MAC activists group. "The situation with breast cancer is quite revealing."

"We could cut cancer death rates if people in Russia were aware of modern treatment and screening methods, that could help cure cancer at early stages," said Gromova. Each year, 50,000 women in Russia are diagnosed with breast cancer and every year the disease kills 25,000 women.

Oncologists in Russia point out that one of the main reasons for such high cancer death rates is that patients are often diagnosed with the disease once it is too late. This catastrophic situation is not limited to breast cancer. For example, prostate cancer is number two among cancers diagnosed among men and is the fifth killer among all cancers in Russia.

"During our campaign we will focus our efforts on screening such types of cancer that could be easily cured at early stages such as breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer and prostate cancer," Gromova added.

The second stage of MAC's 2008 program will be a nation-wide effort to create an electronic registry of all breast cancer patients in Russia, which will assist the Russian Health Ministry make the budgetary assessment of the actual costs of treating breast cancer in Russia. The registry will also help determine the budgetary need for innovative treatment options against breast cancer, including targeted therapies with monoclonal anti-bodies, as well as the scale of their current use in Russian hospitals.

"Currently health officials aren't aware of the real amount of patients that need treatment," said Julia Shestakova, MAC activist, Moscow. "Oncology clinics and hospitals have their own numbers, health ministry officials and patient organizations have their own. In the end thousands of women are left without effective treatment and innovative drugs."

The Movement Against Cancer unites patients and doctors to inform cancer patients about their rights for access to effective and innovative cancer treatments. The Movement seeks to broaden the understanding of Russian society and the Russian government of the problems cancer patients, survivors and family members face when encountering the disease and what should be done on a public policy level to improve cancer patient care and patient access to effective treatment. The anti-cancer group disseminates reliable information about modern cancer treatment methods, protects cancer patients' rights, and advocates for patients' equal and guaranteed access to innovative cancer treatments.

SOURCE Movement Against Cancer
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