Around half of the people called in for cancer screenings come in for tests, and reaching uninsured people is also a problem, according to Kersti Kukk, a gynaecologist at the North Estonia Medical Center.
Last year, 59,899 women aged 50-60 were invited for breast cancer tests and according to general practitioner records, only 32,010 or 53 percent actually came in, Eesti Päevaleht reported today.
According to the doctors, the main problem is reaching uninsured people because they cannot be included in the screening programs, but they also need tests and treatment.
Estonia has screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer, and there was also a pilot project for prostate cancer screening in Tallinn in 2008-2010. There is no definitive data on the attendance of cervical cancer screenings, although rough estimates say the turnout was also lower than expected.
After the pilot project for prostate cancer screening, doctors say their priority is now on raising awareness. Men can ask their general practitioner or andrologist for tests.
When the screenings began 10 years ago, the attendance was only 40 percent, so the situation is actually improving, according to Vahur Valvere, head of the Oncology and Haematology Clinic of the North Estonia Medical Center.