EuropaColon Slovenia Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary
This March EuropaColon Slovenia rang in its 15th anniversary as a patient association! EC Slovenia was an original member of EuropaColon, the European association that became Digestive Cancers Europe in 2018.
As a non-profit association and humanitarian organisation, EC Slovenia represents the public interest of patients with gastrointestinal tract cancer, their relatives, and medical staff. EC Slovenia was founded to assist and support patients and their relatives throughout Slovenia and to facilitate change in the fight against these insidious diseases. The organisation offers help to patients and carers regardless of membership with the association.
As an association, EC Slovenia follows these goals and strives to:
- Increase knowledge and awareness of gastrointestinal tract cancers in the general and professional public
- Through their activities, they break taboos about cancers of the gastrointestinal tract and constantly talk about them;
- To form a community of all those affected in any way by cancer of the gastrointestinal tract;
- Encourage the participation of the target public in the SVIT screening program,
- To empower patients to cope with their illness more quickly,
- To encourage the earliest possible recognition of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract and thus prevent premature death from them;
- Provide continuous education of various profiles of the professional public.
At the start, EC Slovenia devoted itself mainly to colon and rectal cancer patients. Supporting over 1,700 people diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer annually, 80% of patients were diagnosed with an advanced or diffuse form of the disease, resulting in complex treatment and significantly worse survival.
In 2009, collaborating with the state screening program, a program intended to prevent and detect colon and rectal cancer, EC Slovenia saw the number of newly diagnosed patients begin to decrease. The most significant advantage of the SVIT program is early detection, which allows for more accessible treatment, greater chances of recovery and lower treatment costs.
The common goal of SVIT is to reach an optimal threshold of 70% invited to the program. However, this remains a challenge due to the inadequate response of the male population. EC Slovenia continues to advocate for the involvement of the civilian public in the program for men and women aged 50 to 74 years, understanding that change can happen only through awareness, advocacy and empowerment. Since 2017, EC Slovenia has represented patients with cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including oesophageal, gastric, colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancers, which affect about 3,000 Slovenians a year and represent a growing public health problem. As a patient organisation, they realised the urgency to support all gastrointestinal tract cancers because of the very poor 5-year survival and public awareness associated with them.