Seven out of ten citizens in Spain believe that healthcare professionals do not have the necessary resources to tackle cancer, according to a survey by the ECO Foundation. In addition, six out of ten consider that the treatment of this disease is not equitable between the autonomous communities.
“What does Spanish society think about cancer?” is the title of the survey drawn up from 1,001 testimonies of citizens between the ages of 18 and 70, who are clear that health and the healthcare system clearly surpasses the rest of the topics of interest, such as the economy, unemployment or climate change, 84.6% think so. It has been broadcast in the context of World Cancer Day, February 4.
It is also one of the most important topics even for the younger population, those under 30. However, people over the age of 45 are still the ones who care the most about this matter.
So much so that 84.8% say that health and the health system must be the priority issue for Spain during the presidency of the Council of the EU, in the second semester of 2023.
And it is that, according to the survey, 86.3% of the population places cancer as the most important issue that should be dealt with during the European presidency, followed by mental health (72.2%), pandemics and Covid (46.4%), air pollution (30.9%), antibiotic resistance (21.3%) and HIV (16%).
The president of the ECO Foundation for Excellence and Quality in Oncology, Rafael Lópezhe assures in statements to EFESalut that he is not surprised that the population is so important to health, in fact, he sees it “quite logical not only as an oncologist but also as a citizen”.
Less budget, more time to access innovative drugs
In fact, for 82% of respondents, health and the healthcare system is the biggest concern and 73.4% think that Spain allocates less budget to healthcare than other European countries.
More figures: Almost 80% say that Spanish patients take longer than other neighboring countries to access innovative oncology medicines.
In this regard, the ECO Foundation points out in the cancer survey that, according to the latest annual report of Indicators of Access to Innovative Therapies in Europe (WAIT Indicator), patients in Spain wait an average of 517 days to have therapies innovative
Without necessary resources against cancer
With regard to the health resources available to professionals, 69.1% of the people surveyed believe that the public administrations do not provide them with the necessary resources to tackle cancer.
For López this is a “complicated matter” and he remembers that Spain is one of the countries in its environment that invests the least in cancer. “It is not what corresponds to us due to the economic and social situation in which Spain is”, he underlines.
“It is also a survey carried out after the pandemic, where the health system has suffered and is still resisting”, he points out.
And 60% of Spaniards think that the treatment against the disease is not equitable between the different communities. According to the survey, there are no major differences in this regard between the opinions of Andalusians, Catalans, Valencians and Madrid residents.
Regarding research, 63.9% of respondents would “strongly agree” to increase human and financial resources in cancer research and treatment.
28.1% say they “quite agree” that this should happen, while 5.4% say they “disagree a little” and 0.4% do not “agree at all”.
Seven out of ten people think that they do not receive enough information about the disease, in fact 78.6% of the population surveyed do not know the number of deaths and cancer diagnoses in Spain.
4.9% point out that public information is “very sufficient” and 20.6% consider it “enough”.
Regarding these data, the president of the ECO Foundation maintains that this is a “task for professionals and communicators”. That is why, from his point of view, it is necessary to report more about cancer because the more information there is, the more empowered the public will be.
53% of the citizens surveyed claim to have knowledge and information about cancer: breast cancer is the most well-known (86% say so), followed by lung cancer (68%) and prostate cancer (46%).
Regarding the concern for their health, on a scale of 1 to 10, 19.5% say they worry “a lot”, and they would assign a 10 level of concern, 11.6% would put a level 9; 25.9% a level of 8; 19.7%, from 7; 9.4%, from 6; 8.5% at 5, and almost 3% at level 4 or below.
World Cancer Day
In front of the next World Cancer Day, which is commemorated on February 4, from the ECO Foundation they are “very keen” that the European plan against this disease be implemented in Spain in all its dimensions.
“It’s time to act now, we can’t wait, cancer can’t wait any longer,” says Rafael López.