Serbia marks first National Day Against Breast Cancer

BELGRADE -- March 20 is being marked for the first time in Serbia as National Day Against Breast Cancer.


It should raise awareness, inform and educate women about the importance of prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

Every year in Serbia, 4,000 women are diagnosed with the disease, while 1,600 succumb to it.

March 20 is listed in the Calendar of Public Health of the Republic of Serbia, at the initiative of the Avon company and the B92 Fund, with support from the Ministry of Health, the Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia and the Institute of Public Health of Serbia Dr. Milan Jovanović Batut.

On the occasion of the first marking of National Day Against Breast Cancer, a series of events was organized to draw the public attention and remind women to get regular medical check-ups once a year. If detected early, breast cancer can be successfully cured.

A new cycle has been announced of digital mobile mammography examinations in March and April in the suburban municipalities of Belgrade - Barajevo and Sopot - which will give women there an opportunity to have check-ups free of charge.

On this occasion, the House of the National Assembly of Serbia hosted a gathering of representatives of the highest authorities, health institutions involved in the prevention and treatment of malignant diseases, many women who are breast cancer survivors and their family members who assisted them in this difficult fight, as well as Avon and B92 Fund representatives.

Slavica Đukić-Dejanović (B92)
Slavica Đukić-Dejanović (B92)

Health Minister Slavica Đukić-Dejanović said she was pleased to participate in event, and added: "Prevention and early diagnosis is the most effective approach to improving health, especially when it comes to the control of malignant diseases, which are among the most common causes of disease and mortality in Serbia."

"Early diagnosis increases the chances of a cure, so this year will be marked by the screening program, which will succeed when the coverage of women aged between 50 and 69 reaches approximately 70 percent, as it will lead to a significant decrease in the mortality rate. Our goal is zero tolerance to late diagnosis," the minister stated.

More than a hundred women who have fought with this difficult disease came from all parts of Serbia to send a message of encouragement, because their example shows that breast cancer can be successfully cured if detected in time. The special guests were on this occasion presented with symbolic plaques.

Veran Matić (B92)
Veran Matić (B92)

"I am under the impression that we err in our strategy. We constantly defend against cancer, we have a passive attitude, we are on the defensive, much attention is given to therapies, drugs... ," said Veran Matić, chairman of the B92 Fund, in his address.

"Instead of attacking cancer, creating the widest front against cancer and not allowing it to grow, expand, to attack us and do what it wants, to guide our destiny and that of our loved ones. Instead of waiting for patients to show up ill and in a difficult situation, we must sit in moving truck-mammograms, to include all digital and analog mammography, to have enough of them, to invite all women who are at the age that requires regular check-ups, and not give up until a mechanism of preventive examinations has been established that would lead to more detections of ​​cancer in its earliest stages, and cut it at the root."

"This is a disease with which there can be no hesitation, with which we must not make excuses about not having the money for its prevention, because it is the prevention that saves huge amounts of money, we should not make excuses that the health system is disorganized and with weaknesses, because it that is pure surrender in a dangerous war."

"We must not allow a situation like what happened in a hospital in one town which had three mammograms that were being used to examine two women a day, but when the mobile mammography unit showed up, 4,000 women were examined in a month and 20 cancers detected at an early stage and immediately operated," Matić stated.

"As a veteran of the struggle, and as someone who has given his particular contribution to the campaign for the purchase of the first mobile mammography unit in Serbia, it is particularly important that we work together every day in a wider front. In this front are all the women who are accountable for their health, but we want to also think about breast cancer and women who have not been aware of the importance of prevention and early detection," he continued, and added:

"Therefore, the B92 Fund will use all the options that are at its disposal, the media, and others in which we act as an intermediary between all sectors on whose cooperation the success of this struggle mostly depends, and those are above all the state, then the civil sector and socially engaged companies such as Avon. This message should reach every woman in Serbia: 90 percent of early detected cancers are treatable."

"National Day Against Breast Cancer is an important moment because in this fight it once again reminds us of all that we should to so that our women - mothers, wives, sisters and daughters - are protected by the standards common to societies that have a responsible attitude towards the life of every citizen, " Matić said.

On behalf of Avon, Director Vesna Kovljenić thanked all those who welcomed the initiative for the introduction of a National Day. "Avon is a company that over the past 127 years on numerous occasions demonstrated its commitment to the empowerment of women around the world, not only by giving them the opportunity to grow and prosper, but also through a number of activities in order to help achieve a better position of women in society. We are proud that Serbia has its National Day Against Breast Cancer, and we believe that this is a big step for all of us."

"We will continue to support programs aimed at informing the public about this disease, with the desire to draw the attention of women in Serbia to caring for their health, for their own sake and for the sake of their loved ones. Today we are gathered here in the hope that our messages of encouragement will reach all women in need of support, because we want them to know that they are not alone in this fight," said Kovljenić.