€2.4million project will study familial breast cancer

A €2. In essay on professionalism fact, with 6,000+ new board games released each year, you might say this is a new golden age for the venerable combo of cardboard, plastic, and wood. 4million project that will study familial breast cancer among Maltese and Italian communities was launched this morning by Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia.

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Led by the Health Ministry, the six partners, including the University of Malta and the Malta Council for Science and Technology, the project started in March and will draw to an end in 2015. The EU-funded project will design and test IT systems to evaluate genetic, environmental and lifestyle risks related to breast cancer among the two communities. It will also develop an app where young women can input their lifestyle details and are given a risk profile. The data about genetic and lifestyle risks will be analysed and distributed to help people lower the risk, project leader Joe Psaila said. Dr Farrugia launched the project after he met some of the people working at the National Health Screening Centre at Lascaris Wharf. He said today we must look beyond disease prevention and focus on healthy lifestyles. Prevention might bring to mind negative connotations so the Ministry’s message will be one of being healthy. He said the breast cancer programme implemented by the centre had been commended by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, but the place needed a more robust setup. This meant more human and financial resources. Dr Farrugia said that when it came to human resources, the place needed more radiographers, and the Ministry had made sure that radiographers who had been interviewed in November but had not been employed, joined the Radiography department pool to specialise further and be able to join the centre. In the meantime, the ministry was also looking into how it could save money on furniture (€37,000) and vehicles (€27,000) which the centre needed, by providing them from the government’s stock. These funds would then be spent on providing a more dignified service for the clinic. He said the government also intended the extend  the breast screening programme to those above 60 years, and increase its frequency from once every three years to once every two years. Since its launch in October of 2009, some 20,000 women were tested, and 174 of these were diagnosed with cancer. On colon screening, Dr Farrugia said the government inherited a waiting list: there were 400 Gozitans and nearly 1,000 Maltese waiting to be tested. Since November, the screening centre sent out 2,200 invitations, and 21 people were referred for further tests as they were found to be at risk of bowel cancer. One was eventually diagnosed with cancer. Dr Farrugia also said the government will keep its electoral promise and address the waiting list and the lack of a priority system when it comes to osteoporosis by launching a pilot study with doctors where scientific scores will be used to identify low, medium and high risk. He added that disease prevention was cost-effective not only financially, as screening is cheaper than treatment, but also from the social aspect of those at risk. .