Romania has only 500 doctors for 115,000 cancer patients

A total of 495 doctors and residents specializing in oncology work in Romania, according to 2016 data from the Health Ministry released to Agerpres. Meanwhile, the number of cancer patients under treatment is close to 115,000.

Most oncologists, 89, are in Cluj-Napoca, in Western Romania, while Bucharest has 50. By contrast, the county of Calarasi, in South-Eastern Romania, has only one oncology resident doctor. Iasi, in North-Eastern Romania had 33 oncologists, Dolj county 24, and Prahova county 8. Likewise, the counties of Arges, Bacau, and Bihor each had 8 oncologists.

Some 276 resident doctors specializing in oncology were registered in the country last year. Iasi had the highest number of such specialists, 25, followed by Craiova with 19 and Cluj-Napoca, with 9. The counties of Braila and Arad had 6 such specialists each, while the counties of Tulcea, Valcea, and Constanta had 5 doctors each. In Alba, Bistrita, Buzau,Caras-Sever, Salaj and Vrancea, there were 4 oncologists per county. The county of Covasna had 2 oncologists in 2016.

However, Cezar Irimia, the president of the Federation of Cancer Patient Associations in Romania, says the number of oncologists working in the county is even lower, of 300 such specialists. To this, some 50 radiotherapy doctors with oncology competences are added.

“According to a 2015 IMAS survey, there were over 850,000 cancer patients in Romania. According to data from the National Health House, each year some 115,000 of them are under treatment. Every year in Romania, 78,000 new cases are diagnosed, and 48,000 lose the battle with this illness. So, 130 patients die daily in Romania as a result of an oncology pathology. Some discover the illness too late, some don’t have access to investigations and treatment. Many of the 130 could have been saved, or could have had their life prolonged but, without access to treatment and investigation, they die without standing a chance,” Irimia told Agerpres.

At the same time, data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS) show a slightly higher number of oncologists in Romania in 2016. According to INS, 648 oncology specialists were registered in the country, 279 of them residents. Of this number, 512 doctors were working in the public healthcare sector, and 136 were registered in the private sector.

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