Logroño, (EFE).- The Minister of Health of the Government of La Rioja, María Somalo, announced this Friday that within a month they will begin to carry out screenings for the early detection of lung cancer through a non-invasive test with a low-dose radiation tomography with a scanner.
Somalo made these statements together with Martina Alonso, head of the Oncology service at the San Pedro de Logroño University Hospital, in an act to mark World Cancer Day, which is celebrated tomorrow, February 4.
Alonso has specified that this new screening will target people over 50 years of age, smokers of about 20 packs a year or who have quit smoking in the last 15 years.
This lung cancer screening – in addition to those already carried out in the cervix, breast and colon – will be able to detect other pathologies related to tobacco use, such as pulmonary fibrosis or chronic bronchopulmonary diseases, he added.
The Government of La Rioja has specified, in a note, that La Rioja will be ahead of the EU standard with this lung cancer screening that urges states to implement this test in a phased manner from 2025.
This program will incorporate low-dose radiation computed tomography (CT) as a screening tool in combination with preventive actions, such as smoking cessation, and in close collaboration with Primary Care.
In this sense, Somalo has insisted that “population screenings are one of the best prevention tools that are made available to the population and, in this sense, we always work to facilitate their access as much as possible.”
During 2022, Salud began the implementation of cancer screening programs in La Rioja in order to improve accessibility for the population, in some cases, or simplify procedures, with an annual participation of some 35,000 people from La Rioja.
In the case of the new cervical cancer early detection program (aimed at women between 25 and 65 years of age), and progressively extended to reach all health areas, the test is no longer performed in the Gynecology consultation , but it is the Primary Care midwife who carries it out.
Regarding the colon and rectal cancer detection program (aimed at women and men between the ages of 50 and 74), in 2023 the procedure will be modified and the people of La Rioja will no longer receive a letter to participate in the test, so they will receive an SMS that will expedite the process.
As for the breast cancer early detection program (for women between 45 and 69 years old), it is the most consolidated and the activity figures for 2019 are gradually recovering, since during the pandemic the work of the unit slowed down mobile, but in 2022 it doubled with morning and afternoon shifts and weekends to avoid accumulated delay.
Indicators in La Rioja
According to data from the Tumor Registry of the General Directorate of Public Health, during 2021 there were 776 new cancer diagnoses in women in La Rioja (rate of 484.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) and 1,169 in men (751.7).
The main locations of cancer in women were: breast (225 cases, 29% of all tumors), colorectal (119 cases, 15.3%) and trachea, bronchi and lung (40 cases, 5.1%).
In men: prostate (256 cases, 21.9%), colorectum (217 cases, 18.6%) and urinary bladder (147 cases, 12.6%).
Regarding mortality, in 2021 there were 496 deaths from cancer in men, which represented a rate of 314.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and 29.8% of all deaths were men.
In women, the number of deaths from cancer was 300, with a rate per 100,000 of 185.2 and this disease is behind 18.8% of all deaths. EFE