"This is a truly emotionally charged day. We are inaugurating the first great programme of presymptomatic screening and giving it the name of Fofi Gennimata, who fought with courage and self-sacrifice not only to overcome her own illness but also to inform other women about the importance of presymptomatic screening," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday at an event to present the "Fofi Gennimata" programme for free mammagrams to women aged 50 to 69 years old.
"With financing from the Recovery Fund we are in a position to put the first mass presymptomatic screening programme into operation, we are starting with breast cancer," Mitsotakis said.
The prime minister said the programme will use the best technological tools that the public sector has at its disposal.
"We should contact the women in the crucial ages first, encourage them to get examined and explain to them what must be done in the case that the first diagnosis from the mammagram calls for additional tests. It is a programme with a strong social impact," he continued.
According to Mitsotakis, it was especially important to build an information campaign targeting all Greek women, adding that the goals is to extend presymptomatic screening to other diseases and types of cancer:
"The time when we will be in a position to defeat cancer is not far off. Public health, the "Spyros Doxiadis" programme is not restricted to presymptomatic examinations. It concerns our individual behaviour to ensure that we not only live longer but also better."
Among such behavioural elements he listed not smoking, lauding the anti-smoking laws, restricting consumption of alcohol, regular exercise, health eating and avoiding excessive weight.
"With small and simple habits in our daily lives we can make great changes in health," the prime minister noted, highlighting the very high rates of obesity in Greece and promising to become personally involved in programmes of this type.
"We can make a great difference. As we can eliminate the only cancer that is visible to the naked eye, which is skin cancer," he added, while urging women not to be afraid to get tested "because fear kills" and a cancer diagnosis in the present day was not a death sentence.
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