Thousands of cancer patients in Greece are faced with extensive waiting periods, enduring months-long waits for essential medical examinations.
As reported by MEGA, the waiting time for a single mammogram can extend up to four months. Moreover, delays in receiving biopsy results further compound the issue, postponing the initiation of much-needed treatments.
The root causes of this predicament stem from a shortage of medical staff and the reverberations of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, cancer patients are left in a state of despair as waiting lists continue to swell.
In a conversation on “Society Hour MEGA,” George Pissakas, the Coordinator of the Radiotherapy Oncology Department at Alexandra Hospital, shed light on the challenging journey that cancer patients undergo from diagnosis to treatment. He highlighted the system’s deficiencies, emphasizing the extensive wait times for essential examinations.
Pissakas stressed the critical issue surrounding radiotherapy, stating, “There is a severe shortage of radiotherapy machines in public facilities.” While chemotherapy procedures don’t entail lengthy wait times, accessing radiotherapy poses a significant challenge due to a scarcity of available equipment.
Furthermore, Pissakas criticized certain private medical facilities, alleging that they demand exorbitant fees from patients despite the treatments being covered by the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY).
“Even though EOPYY covers all radiotherapy treatments, some private facilities demand €3,000 to €5,000 from patients. The Hellenic Cancer Federation has officially lodged a complaint against all private hospitals,” Pissakas added.
Highlighting regional disparities, Pissakas stressed the absence of radiotherapy centers across various provinces. He proposed the establishment of radiotherapy facilities within a 100-kilometer radius, aiming to bridge gaps in regions such as the Peloponnese, where access to radiotherapy services remains limited.
The dire situation faced by cancer patients due to elongated waiting times for crucial medical procedures remains a significant concern, requiring urgent attention and systematic reforms to alleviate their suffering.