A file photo showing women registering at Egypt's “100 Million Health” initiative. Photo courtesy of Health Ministry
As part of the broader 100 Million Health initiative, this programme offers free-of-charge services aimed at early cancer detection in the lungs, prostate, colon and cervix.
The goal is to reduce both deaths and the financial burden associated with advanced cases, according to a statement by Health Ministry Spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar.
The initial phase of the initiative aims to screen between three and four million citizens for prostate and lung cancer.
It is being implemented in nine governorates, including Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh, Damietta, Qalioubiya, Fayoum, Assiut, South Sinai and Port-Said, with plans to expand it to more governorates in the future, the spokesman added.
Citizens in these governorates above 18 can access services by visiting their nearest health unit and completing an electronic questionnaire to determine which disease to test for. Patients are then referred to initiative-affiliated hospitals for necessary radiological and laboratory tests, he explained.
In cases where the results are positive, patients will be directed to a multidisciplinary committee to determine the appropriate treatment plan.
Egypt’s cancer risks
Egypt detects 166,000 cancer cases annually, according to a statement by the Head of the Oncology Department at the National Cancer Institute Mustafa El-Sayed.
According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data, Egypt recorded 128,892 cancer cases in 2018, with 85,432 resulting in death. Breast and liver cancer had the highest incidence and mortality rates among various types of cancer.
Figures released by the Global Cancer Observatory (Globocan) in 2020 show that there were 134,632 cancer cases in Egypt, with breast and liver cancer again recording the highest number of cases.
Egypt has been exerting efforts toward minimizing the number of cancer cases and deaths through various initiatives that fall under the 100 Million Health initiative.
Egypt launched a presidential initiative to screen for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, in March 2022 as an extension of the national initiative to screen for hepatitis C virus and non-communicable diseases.
In May, the ministry signed an agreement with Roche, a Swiss multinational healthcare company, to improve medical care for liver fibrosis and early detection of liver tumours.