The main objective of the document is to reduce the incidence of preventable tumours, while also increasing the survival and quality of life of patients and survivors of the disease.
There are planned changes to diagnosis and treatment, with improvements in the oncology referral network, but another focus is on prevention, mitigating the risk of exposure to tobacco or alcohol and promoting healthier lifestyles.
Speaking to CNN Portugal, José Dinis, the coordinator of the National Program for Oncological Diseases of the DGS, argues that the images on cigarette packs are shocking but that is not enough: tobacco is the main risk factor for oncological diseases and is responsible for 20% of cases and 33% of deaths.
Raising the minimum legal age
The National Strategy for the Fight against Cancer aims to "limit" access to tobacco through various strategies, namely by increasing prices - as provided for in the recommendations of the World Health Organization. Other goals include regulating tobacco ingredients, including flavourings, but also raising the minimum legal age for those who are authorised to buy tobacco from the current 18 to 21 years.
High drinking levels
Another target of the National Strategy for the Fight against Cancer is the consumption of alcohol, where Portugal also stands out for being one of the European countries where alcoholic beverages are consumed more. According to the document, "it is estimated that 3.6% of the Portuguese population has high risk/harmful consumption (2.8%) or dependence (0.8%)" and "in 2019 there were 2,507 deaths from diseases in Portugal attributable to alcohol (2.2% of mortality in the country), the second highest figure in the last seven years".
To combat the previous numbers, the national strategy developed by the DGS opens the door to the increase in alcohol prices through a proposal to annually update the tax rates on these drinks. On the table are still proposals to restrict marketing and advertising to alcoholic beverages.