Malignant diseases are among the most important public health problems in the Republic of Croatia. Disease prevention and early detection are the most successful methods against malignant diseases and they help reduce the number of cancer patients and mortality.
Various early detection programmes are implemented in Croatia for cervical, colorectal and breast cancer. The main promoter of these programmes is the Ministry of Health, while in Rijeka the programme is implemented by the Educational Public Health Institute of the PGŽ County. These are pain-free examinations for early detection of cancer that can save lives.
The aim of the prevention programmes is to reduce morbidity and mortality of certain types of cancer, include as many people as possible and encourage them to take part in examinations when they are invited to participate in any of the mentioned prevention programmes, and moreover, motivate them to participate actively in the prevention and improvement of their health.
The screening programme for early detection of breast cancer has been promoted in Croatia since 2006. The programme was first implemented in Rijeka and in the PGŽ County. As part of the breast cancer prevention programme, women aged between 50 and 69 are invited to get a free mammogram every two years. Mammography is a breast test performed with a low dose of radiation owing to which any breast changes can be detected up to two years before the appearance of clinical symptoms.
The national early detection programme for colorectal cancer includes all women and men in the Republic of Croatia aged between 50 and 74 years. The program has been promoted since 2008. Within the programme, women and men are invited to undergo stool testing for invisible traces of blood every two to three years, and those with positive test results are invited to perform a colonoscopy to identify the cause of bleeding.
In the Republic of Croatia over one hundred women die annually due to cervical cancer and it is a disease that no woman should die from. The early detection programme for cervical cancer includes women aged between 25 and 64, who receive invitations at their home addresses to have pap testing every three years. This programme has been implemented since 2010.