How to get a free colon cancer screening in Greece

colon cancer

The program includes a free examination with special self-diagnostic tests (self-tests) that citizens can obtain from partnered pharmacies.

Following the Joint Ministerial Decision signed by the Minister of Health, Adonis Georgiadis, the Minister of Digital Governance, Dimitris Papastergiou, the Deputy Minister of Health, Irini Agapidaki, and the Deputy Minister of National Economy and Finance, Nikos Papathanasis, the implementation of the "Preventive Diagnostic Examinations for Colorectal Cancer" action has moved one step closer.

The plan defines the terms and conditions of the "Preventive Diagnostic Examinations for Colon Cancer," part of the National Screening Program (SSP) of the National Prevention Program. IDIKA SA, a body of the Ministry of Digital Governance, implements it. It is financed by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan Greece 2.0.

The program aims to prevent colon cancer and targets 2.8 million men and women aged 50-69. It includes a free examination with special self-diagnostic tests (self-test) that citizens can obtain from partnered pharmacies and a free visit to a partner gastroenterologist/endoscope for clinical evaluation in case of a positive result from the self-diagnosis test.

In addition, depending on the clinical evaluation, it includes a free diagnostic colonoscopy and a free biopsy examination in case of findings, in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee of Experts on Public Health (EEDY).

The government is investing over 200 million euros in secondary cancer prevention programs until 2025, the majority of which comes from the Recovery and Resilience Fund.

The Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis said:

"Colon cancer can be prevented if diagnosed early. For this reason, screening is necessary, significantly increasing the chances of curing the disease.

"With the National Screening Program (EPPE) of the National Prevention Program, thousands of lives will be saved through early diagnosis.

"I encourage all citizens to take advantage of these free examinations and to immediately make an appointment for an examination at one of the collaborating centres and without any financial burden."

The Minister of Digital Governance Dimitris Papastergiou said:

"A European state that respects citizens, a digital state that puts the citizen at the centre every day and at the same time takes care of the critical health sector. We are working towards this vision as a government and as a whole.

"In close cooperation with the Ministry of Health, we implement a series of innovative projects for preventing diseases, such as colon cancer.

"Early diagnosis can save lives, and this is a common belief that unites us. Utilising valuable resources from the Recovery Fund, we implement through IDIKA all those technological tools that strengthen the National Screening Program 'PROLAMVANO', supporting in practice the improvement of citizen's quality of life."

For her part, the Deputy Minister of Health Irini Agapidaki said:

"Prevention is the cornerstone of our strategy for public health, and the MOU we signed with the relevant Ministries strengthens our efforts in this direction.

"We are moving forward, making our announcements a reality, demonstrating our commitment to improving public health in our country and providing high-quality health services for all citizens."

The Deputy Minister of National Economy and Finance Nikos Papathanasis said:

"Today's decision is another intervention by the government in the direction of strengthening public health and expanding the prevention of diseases, such as breast, cervical, colon, and cardiovascular disease.

"These programs, which save lives, as well as the general upgrading of hospitals and health centres throughout the country, are financed by national as well as European resources, debunking the complaints about the channelling of the funds of the Recovery and Resilience Fund and the NSRF, to a few.

"We leave the fictions of the opposition to the judgment of the citizens, and we proceed decisively in the implementation of our commitments for sustainable development with social cohesion and solidarity for all."

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