It may seem a little odd that you need to pay for cancer screening scans, as Spain has a comprehensive network of private clinics, hospitals and doctors covered by private health insurance. In addition, as an EU citizen in Spain, you have access to one of the world’s most advanced public health care systems (Spain currently ranks 21st in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation).
So, what’s the problem? The latest screening technology isn’t widely available to the wider general public or via private health insurance policies. No, matter how advanced or comprehensive public and private healthcare provisions are, they do not have the budget to give widespread access to every medical innovation and technology. Therefore, currently the only option is to take advantage of specialist private medical facilities, such as Executive Health, which are at the vanguard of cancer screening.
Delay in accessing medical innovations
This situation is not unique to Europe, the US Government’s National Library of Medicine website, summarises a study looking at how to minimise lags in the introduction of new medical technology. At the moment, they suggest that it takes around 17 years from the initial research through to the clinical practice stage. Depending upon the medical body adopting the technology, it is possible that some patients could wait even longer or may never gain access to the required life-saving technology, due to budget constraints.
EU cancer mortality predictions for 2023
As to whether you should pay hard earned cash to undergo state-of-the-art cancer screening, you need look no further than the number of new diagnosed cancer cases and mortality predictions throughout Europe in 2023.
An overview of the most prevalent types of cancer throughout the EU (as provided by Eurostat) are lung cancer, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer. Statistics published on the Annals of Oncology website, predict 1,261,990 cancer deaths for 2023 throughout the 27 EU countries. Although this figure represents a drop in the number of cases for both men and women (-6.5% and -3.7% respectively) since 2018, it is still a staggering number of deaths, of which many could have been avoided if abnormal cells had been detected via advanced cancer screening.
50% of cancer could be prevented with screening and lifestyle changes
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is quoted as stating that up to 50 per cent of cancers deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding risks and implementing prevention strategies. More importantly, they highlight that the ‘cancer burden can be reduced through early detection and management’. Cancer is more likely to respond to effective treatment when identified early, resulting in a higher probability of survival and less expensive treatment. The conclusion is that screening is required to identify abnormalities early before they become pre-cancerous. If, anything sinister is found, a biopsy will be swiftly organized to check for cancer or pre-cancer.
Cancer is indiscriminate
Unfortunately, cancer is an indiscriminate disease that can affect anyone. Even if you feel and look extremely healthy and mitigate risk in your lifestyle, you could be asymptomatic. Executive Health’s Dr Henrik Reinhard, confirms:
“Many cancers could be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and early identification and diagnosis via a full medical check-up and our Executive cancer screening package.
Executive Health’s cancer screening takes between 2 to 3 hours and includes over 40 MRI scans, including the head, brain, neck, check, abdomen and pelvis. The advanced medical screening technology (not currently available in most clinics) can identify abnormalities in cells before they become pre-cancerous or present symptoms. Any abnormality, no matter how small, can then be checked out, evaluated and treated as quickly as possible, thereby drastically increasing your survival rate up to 85%”. Further information about the benefits of cancer screening can be found in our blog “Cancer screening and early detection saves lives”.
Armed with this information, all of sudden the question as to whether you should pay to undergo regular cancer screening becomes less of a head-scratcher and more a no-brainer. The old adage, “you can’t put a price on your health” has never been more germane. You should embrace every weapon in your arsenal, from nutrition and metabolic health to healthy lifestyle to comprehensive medical screening programmes, to safeguard your current health and future longevity.
If you would like more information about the range and benefits of Executive Health’s screening programmes, book a free consultation with Dr. Henrik Reinhard at Executive Health’s clinic in Marbella.
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