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The programme `Stop and get checked` - an attempt to restore cancer screening in Bulgaria

Nigyar Dzhafer


INTRODUCTION: Cancer morbidity and mortality rates in Bulgaria are growing, although the trend observed in other European countries is towards a decreasing mortality rate despite the increasing morbidity rate. Bulgaria has very low attendance rates in relation to preventive and screening examinations with an oncological focus, which results in continuing late diagnoses regardless of the development and achievements of medical science and technology. Despite the position set forward by the leading professional bodies of clinical oncology (ASCO, ESMO) in Europe and worldwide, the existence of strictly drafted quality and behavioural guidelines, as well as the Council of Europe Recommendation (December 2003) and European Commission Report (May 2008), our country has not developed an organised screening programme for the three types of cancer subject to screening - breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer.

AIM: To present the organisation and the results, and to draw conclusions from the implementation of the ,,Stop and Get Checked` programme as well as the possibilities of using the infrastructure, logistics and experience built in the context of the programme.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 2009, a screening programme named `Stop and Get Checked` was submitted for approval and funding from the EU`s European Social Fund. This was an attempt to restore and resume population-based cancer screenings in Bulgaria. The purpose was to run a screening of 400 000 peo­ple. The programme ended in October 2014. Examinations were organised and conducted in all 28 districts of the country. The screening methods utilised were mammography for breast cancer, pap smear test for cervical cancer and testing for fecal occult bleeding for colorectal cancer.In order to present our goals, data and results of examinations and organisation programme were reviewed, summarised and analysed. Published documents and information were requested and granted by the Ministry of Health in compliance with the requirements and conditions of the legal access to personal data.

RESULTS: The invited number of people was 999 962. The purpose was to run a screening of 400 000 people. The carried out examinations/tests were 55 898, comprising: ence built during the programme can be used to further develop a comprehensive model of organised popu­lation cancer screening, taking into account the characteristics and imbalances of the current healthcare sys­tem in Bulgaria.


cancer screening, Stop and Get Checked

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About The Author

Nigyar Dzhafer
Medical University of Varna

Department of Social Medicine and Health Care Organisation, Faculty of Public Health

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