€2.5 million in EU funds to strengthen breast cancer risk surveillance

Women who have a family history of breast cancer and are currently attending for routine mammograms at the Lascaris Centre will now be offered the opportunity to participate in personalised clinical risk assessments.

Parliamentary secretaries Chris Fearne and Ian Borg
Parliamentary secretaries Chris Fearne and Ian Borg

Parliamentary Secretaries Chris Fearne and Ian Borg yesterday launched a new research-based project called IMaGenX - the Italia-Malta Genome Breast Cancer Cross-Border Risk Surveillance, aimed at assessing risks in breast cancer.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health Chris Fearne announced that the National Screening Centre in Valletta has introduced a risk evaluation clinic. The aim of this new service is to study and develop risk assessment for familial breast cancer using sophisticated innovative IT systems where individuals will be able to generate personalised health portfolios.  

Women who have a family history of breast cancer and are currently attending for routine mammograms at the Lascaris Centre will now be offered the opportunity to participate in personalised clinical risk assessments.

Fearne remarked that in 2012 there were 315 new cases of breast cancer with around 80 deaths. However early detection means a survival rate of over 95%. 14,000 women between 50-60 years are being called for screening each year.  

“These measures show our commitment to expand the services within the screening programme so as to identify those at risk and get them to follow a surveillance programme at earlier stages,” stated Fearne.

There are six partners participating in this research project. The Maltese partners are the National Screening Services, the University of Malta and the Malta Council for Science and Technology. The Italian partners are Palermo University, its satellite unit in Trapani and Syracuse Regional Health Authority.

Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funding Ian Borg said that this research-based project on Breast Cancer Risk Surveillance is being carried out between Malta and Italy, financed by the Italo-Maltese 2007-2013 programme for a total budget of almost €2.4 million.  

He said that this project shows that Malta is very proactive when it comes to initiatives in favour of more research on breast cancer. Likewise, the Parliamentary Secretary emphasised the importance of nurturing research in all aspects of life something which is indispensable when it comes to health.

Borg praised the initiative taken and remarked that for the forthcoming 2014-20 funding programme Malta will be benefitting from further funds – a total investment of around €72 million for research and development.

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