Thorough prevention, early detection vital in new basic plan for cancer
早期発見 early detection
死亡率 mortality rate
5年生存率 five-year survival rate
〜に届かない fall short of ...
発症後 after the onset
〜の観点から in terms of ..
初期の段階で at an early stage
人生の節目 turning point in one's life
〜に影響を及ぼす have an impact on ...
To reduce the number of people who die of cancer, prevention and early detection are effective. Measures for that purpose should be accelerated.
A council of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has compiled a draft of a new “Basic Plan to Promote Cancer Control Programs” over the next six years. The draft is set to be approved at a Cabinet meeting as early as July.
The current basic plan had set a goal of decreasing the mortality rate of the disease by 20 percent among those under 75 over a 10-year period that started in 2005. Based on the plan, efforts have been promoted to enhance medical services, including preparing core hospitals for cancer treatment.
Results have been steadily produced, such as a decline in the mortality rate and an improvement in the five-year survival rate. However, the about 16 percent drop in the mortality rate fell short of the goal. It is said that this is mainly due to the fact that the rate of smoking and the consultation rate for cancer screening have not improved as expected.
Based on the lessons learned from the current basic plan, the emphasis of the measures in the draft plan was shifted to prevention and early detection from measures taken mainly after the onset of the disease.
In particular, measures against tobacco put emphasis on prevention. The anti-tobacco measures seek to promote efforts for lowering the rate of smoking and preventing passive smoking.
A goal to “curb passive smoking to zero” at restaurants and other locations, which was agreed to at the ministry council, was not included in the anti-tobacco measures. It was influenced by the fact that a consensus has not been reached on a bill to strengthen measures against passive smoking due to opposition within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In terms of cancer prevention, it is necessary to quickly introduce legislation to promote measures against passive smoking.
Enhance patient support
For early detection of cancer, it is indispensable to improve the consultation rate for cancer screening. Currently the rate for men is in the 40 percent range, while that for women is in the 30 percent range. Neither meet the 50 percent goal.
It is also a problem that when people are suspected of abnormalities, only 65 percent to 85 percent of them go on to get a thorough examination. The draft plan sets a new goal to raise that rate to 90 percent.
Local governments and workplaces, which conduct physical checkups, should put effort into devising more effective measures, such as encouraging, in a careful manner, those people to get a thorough examination and improving a system to make it easy to get such an examination. In order to better detect cancer at an early stage, it is also important to improve the accuracy of examinations.
The draft plan is characterized by its call to extend support for patients based on age.
Notably, it took up measures for juveniles and young adults for the first time. There are cases when they receive treatment at turning points in their lives, such as advancing to higher education, getting a job, marriage and childbirth. It is possible that disruptions such as suspension of their academic work could have a serious impact on their future.
It is indispensable to provide support according to various stages of their lives, such as educational support while undergoing medical treatment and support for their return to school.
With the increase in the number of those in working generations who develop cancer, job assistance is another important challenge in the current basic plan. At the end of last year, the revised Cancer Control Law, which urges companies to make efforts to consider the continued employment of cancer patients, came into force. Effective efforts should be promoted as part of the government’s work style reform.