Croatia has become the first country in the European Union to introduce screening for early lung cancer. All smokers across the country, aged between 50 and 70 years-old, as well as those smokers who quit at least 15 years ago will have the opportunity to receive a screening.
The Croatian Ministry of Health is carrying out this new and innovative program with the Croatian Thoracic Association and the aim is to reduce the mortality of lung cancer by 20 percent in the next decade. If this project reaches its goals it will save around 500 lives a year.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of malignant disease deaths worldwide, and some 3,000 people are diagnosed in Croatia every year, with smoking being the primary cause. According to research, nearly a third of Croatians are smokers – 35.3 percent of men and 27.1 percent of women, with the prevalence of cancer stagnating in men and rising in women. In 2018, nearly 900 women and more than 2,100 men were diagnosed with lung cancer, and almost 2,800 of them lost the battle with the disease.
Health facilities across Croatia, in the city of Zagreb, the Adriatic cities of Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar, the Istrian city of Pula, northern cities of Varazdin and Krapinske Toplice, and eastern cities of Osijek, Virovitica, and Slavonski Brod, are now equipped with 16 such scanners.