More than 40 percent of Russian cancer patients turn to doctors only in the last stages of the disease, Russia's top oncologist, Valery Chissov, told
More than 20 percent of Russian cancer patients are diagnosed in the fourth stage, and more than 40 percent in the third or fourth stage.
The statistics speak to the poor qualifications of general practitioners, the reluctance of patients to be examined regularly and a badly organized treatment system in Russia, Chissov said.
In 2011, there were 231 cancer patients per 100,000 people in Russia, the latest data available show, and the figure for 2012 is expected to be similar.
Chissov also expressed concern over the mortality rate for cancer patients in Russia, noting that while there are more cases of the illness in the U.S. — 332 for 100,000 people in one year — the mortality rate is higher in Russia: 180 fatalities out of 100,000 people, compared with 121 in the U.S.
There are about 2.8 million cancer patients in Russia. Over the past 10 years, the number of cancer patients detected each year climbed 18 percent, meaning the yearly increase in diagnoses is around 1.5 percent.
Slightly more than 500,000 Russians are diagnosed with cancer every year, an average rate in the world.
Russia established a national cancer program in 2009, allocating 6.5 billion rubles to the program each year. The program aims to monitor dynamics in diagnoses across the regions and analyze the reasons for late detection.