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Chilean Government presents National Cancer Plan to increase survival and promote healthy living

In an effort to decrease the incidence and mortality of cancer, the Chilean government presented a plan today that includes strategies and actions designed to facilitate the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer in order to improve survival rates.

The objective of President Sebastián Piñera’s Administration is to overhaul the public health system. Cancer is currently the second leading cause of death in Chile and is projected to become the first. Today, President Piñera and Health Minister Emilio Santelices presented the National Cancer Plan at La Moneda Palace.

The plan seeks to decrease the incidence and mortality of the disease through strategies and actions that facilitate the promotion, prevention, early detection, treatment, palliative care and monitoring of patients in order to improve their survival rates, quality of life and the quality of life of their family members and communities.

The Advisory Working Group on Cancer worked on this document for over eight months. It contains an action plan with the formulation of public policies and strategies that are aligned with the circumstances and needs of Chile’s population.

Specifically, the goal is to achieve five-year survival for 60% of patients by 2028, bearing in mind that the current five-year survival rate in Chile is 40%. The plan involves guaranteeing access to quality care for the entire population and providing timely and equitable treatment through the following specific objectives:

  1. To generate more awareness regarding the importance of cancer and civil society’s role in its prevention and treatment.
  2. To strengthen healthy lifestyles and encourage self-care through health education, the promotion of protective factors and awareness of risk prevention factors associated with cancer through innovative intra- and inter-sector strategies.
  3. To improve immunization coverage as part of the strategies used to prevent cancer, particularly vaccination against the human papilloma virus.
  4. To improve screening coverage and the timeliness and quality of confirmation of diagnoses and coordination with the pertinent referral center. Special attention will be paid to Papanicolaou, mammography and digestive cancer.
  5. To guarantee comprehensive, timely and quality treatment based on the best available scientific data.
  6. To guarantee access to palliative care as a fundamental service for oncology patients.
  7. To improve the management of the network, particularly the fulfillment of those conditions covered by explicit health guarantees (garantías explícitas en salud, GES) in cancer without leaving aside the conditions that are not currently covered by said guarantees.
  8. To strengthen the creation of necessary human resources and future planning in this area in order to create the qualified interdisciplinary team required for the National Oncology Network. The government plans to train nearly 130 oncology specialists by 2022.
  9. To strengthen the National Oncology Network, specifically infrastructure and equipment, in order to guarantee access to quality and timely care to all cancer patients living in Chile with comprehensive care provided to the majority of people in their region of residence. The government plans to invest 20 billion Chilean pesos per year in oncology equipment and infrastructure through 2028.
  10. To strengthen record keeping, information on and epidemiological surveillance of cancer in order to facilitate the generation of, quality of and access to information in order to support public health decision-making processes. The government proposes launching a National Cancer Register in 2020.
  11. To promote research in various disciplines related to the healthcare field, particularly in areas related to cancer in order to ensure that research is an input that allows the impact of cancer on the population to be reduced.
  12. To strengthen stewardship, regulation and oversight, ensuring the quality of the clinical processes established for the diagnosis and treatment of people with cancer and the oversight of all technical aspects and the functioning of equipment in order to ensure that users receive quality care. The government proposes the updating and creation of treatment guides and protocols for 20 highest impact types of cancer.


During his remarks, the President said, “I want to tell all Chileans who have faced cancer that they are not alone, and that the Government and civil society are committed body and soul to helping you to face and overcome this illness. We also will help you to recover so that you can carry on with your life and enjoy opportunities and happiness.”

He added, “half of all the people in Chile will face cancer, but we are not passive subjects. That’s why I want to invite all of you to change your habits, live a healthier life, be active, eat better and be more committed to preventative medicine and take all of the tests available through the healthcare system. Because all of these things that we are doing will not be enough without the cooperation of all Chileans.”

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