Cyprus detects 656 new cases of prostate cancer in 2020

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in Europe and it is estimated that it runs to 25% of all new cases in males. In 2020 in Europe 107,000 people passed away while 450,000 new cases were diagnosed.

The figures were presented at a press conference on Friday, under the auspices of the Minister of Health, on the occasion of the European Prostate Cancer Awareness Day. All speakers underlined the significance of prevention, exercise and healthy diet and lifestyle.

Addressing the event, Minister of Health Popi Kanari said that in Cyprus around 540 new cases are detected annually, with an increase recorded in 2019 and 2020. She referred to the importance of prevention and population control for male over 50 and over 40 with a family history, noting that this type of cancer has a slow development and it often has no symptoms.

She said that the Ministry is in close contact with the scientific companies to have the right policies, stating that the government supports the scientific community and the messages are optimistic. She also referred to the screening programme for prostate cancer and other diseases.

At the same time, the Minister praised the work of Europa Uomo for awareness and support of patients and their families.

Director of the Radiotherapeutic Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Clinic of the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Department Dr. Dimitrios Bombas said that although prostate cancer remains a major cause of death among men in Europe, the mortality rate is decreasing in many European countries and this is probably due with improvements in early diagnosis (PSA blood test combined with urological assessment and treatment).

He spoke in detail about the stages of diagnosis, patient classification and treatment as well as prevention strategies such as proper diet and exercise and visiting the urologist if symptoms are present.

Director General of Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center Panos Ergatoudes referred to the positive developments of medical science for prevention and early diagnosis and added that the Centre will continue to support patients and their families as it has done for the past 25 years. He said that maintaining a dialogue with society is important and it is equally important for patients to speak up.

Europa Uomo President Andreas Moyseos said that the patients' continued demands have to do with equality in the access to modified medicines, controlled use of major ingredients in treatment delivery, measurable results and centres of excellence for the 4 major types of cancer.

In the context of the conference, Open University postgraduate student Maria Christou briefly presented her study on prostate cancer and referred to an online research in progress.

A representative of the major sponsor BD Swiss referred to the corporate social responsibility that prompted the company to support Europa Uomo and its actions.

The 3rd blue cycling route, in the framework of the awareness campaign, will take place on October 8 in Limassol and in an online message the Deputy Minister of Shipping invited everyone to embrace the event.

On November 3, 4 and 5 biking rides will also take place in 31 of the 41 communities of Pitsilia region. Other activities and events will also take place in an attempt to raise awareness and financially support Europa Uomo.

Europa Uomo President presented commemorative plaques to the Minister of Health, the Director of Oncology Center, a representative of the German Oncology Society and the representative of the major sponsor BD Swiss.

Source: Cyprus News Agency

First case of West Nile Virus in Cyprus reported in 2023

The Ministry of Health Medical and Public Health Services have been informed about the existence of the first case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Cyprus for 2023.

At the same time, they emphasise that there is no cause for concern because the virus is not transmitted from person to person. However, the Ministry of Health is on alert and taking all necessary precautions.

An official press release said sporadic cases of WNV occur in Cyprus from time to time, mainly during the summer months. According to data by the Epidemiological Surveillance and Control Unit for Infectious Diseases (ES and CUID), one case was reported in 2016, one case in 2018, and 24 cases in 2019.

The West Nile Virus is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected ordinary mosquitoes. People who are infected do not transmit the virus to others. The WNV is not transmitted from person to person, and it is not spread through regular social, sexual, or other contact. Additionally, it is not transmitted from infected patients to healthcare personnel. After being bitten by mosquitoes, there is usually a period of 2-14 days (incubation period) before symptoms appear.

In the majority of cases, individuals infected with the virus do not exhibit symptoms or experience mild symptoms. Very few individuals (less than 1%) develop severe illness affecting the nervous system (such as encephalitis, meningitis, or paralysis). Older individuals (above 50 years of age) and those with weakened immune systems or underlying chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of developing severe illness.

Source: Cyprus News Agency

UK accelerates COVID-19 vaccine programs amid growing concerns over new variant risk

Health authorities in the UK have reported an increase in cases of the highly mutable 'Pirola' COVID-19 variant.

According to Public Health Scotland (PHS), the BA.2.86 variant was first discovered through PCR testing on a sample collected on Aug. 16.

In the coming weeks, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is set to unveil plans for increased COVID-19 testing and community surveillance during the winter months, according to British media.

This decision comes on the heels of an announcement by health authorities that the vaccination campaign in England will commence on Sept. 11, approximately three weeks ahead of the initially scheduled "early October" rollout.

From Sept. 18, the NHS will begin inviting people in priority order of risk, and those eligible will be able to book an appointment through the National Booking Service.

These measures are being implemented in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the emergence of a highly mutated SARS-CoV-2 variant known as BA.2.86 or Pirola.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed that it is currently analyzing the new variant.

The UKHSA said: "While BA.2.86 is not currently classified as a variant of concern, advice from UKHSA suggests that speeding up the autumn vaccine program will deliver greater protection, supporting those at greatest risk of severe illness and reducing the potential impact on the NHS."

Dame Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, has emphasized the significant success of the vaccination program in establishing robust and widespread immune defenses against these new variants across the population.

"There is limited information available at present on BA.2.86 so the potential impact of this particular variant is difficult to estimate. As with all emergent and circulating COVID-19 variants - both in the UK and internationally - we will continue to monitor BA.2.86 and to advise government and the public as we learn more," he explained.

Source: Anadolu Agency

5 transplants performed using organs from hornet sting boy

Doctors have performed a total of five transplants using organs donated by a 9-year-old German boy who died after being stung by a hornet in northern Italy on Monday evening.

Three of the transplants, involving the boy's liver and two kidneys, were performed at Molinette hospital in Turin.

His heart was instead transplanted into a child patient in Bologna and his lungs into a child patient in Padua.

The boy died of anaphylactic shock after being stung in the neck by the hornet during a farmhouse holiday with his family in Costa Vescovato in the province of Alessandria.

Source: Ansa News Agency (ANA)

Health Minister sees no justification for stricter measures regarding COVID-19

A meeting will take place on August 29th with the Scientific Advisory Committee for COVID-19, in the presence of the Minister of Health, to evaluate the epidemiological indicators and the new data regarding the virus. Minister of Health Dr. Popi Kanari, speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the World Conference of Cyprus Diaspora in Nicosia, underlined that "there is currently no justification for any stricter measures regarding the Coronavirus'. The Minister of Health said "on the 29th of the month, the Committee will convene and we will see whether we will continue with the measures currently in place, which include rapid tests in hospitals and nursing homes." She noted that "these are the only precautions that currently exist, as is the case in many other countries." 'Currently, we cannot justify taking any stricter measures', she said, adding that the ministry is monitoring the new subvariant 'Eris' and is also vigilant about the new variant identified in Canada, Israel, and the UK. She also said the ministry is in continuous communication with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and the data is such that there is no justification for any additional measures, nor for panic. Dr. Kanari said that the Ministry of Health monitors the data daily, which it collects and will provide to the Committee members for their study, to decide on how to proceed. Furthermore, the Minister of Health said that they have already updated the vaccination programme for the coming year. "The programme has already been set. Vaccinations will start being administered from the end of September until the beginning of November, both for the new COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine," she said. She further noted that the WHO suggests that these vaccines should be administered together for this year. She added that vaccination centers will offer the option for citizens to receive them simultaneously this year. This, she added, applies to citizens over 60 years old and vulnerable groups. She clarified that personal doctors, as before, will also be able to administer the flu vaccines.

Source: Cyprus News Agency

Turkish doctors in US develop vaccine to prevent breast cancer progression

Turkish doctors in the United States have invented a vaccine to prevent the progression of breast cancer in the human body.

It is currently being tested on 10 volunteers in a clinical trial, and will be expanded to 50 volunteers in the next phase according to Atilla Soran, a breast surgical oncologist leading the research.

Their research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has drawn widespread attention in the US, and has been described as a “very important development” by the media.

Breast cancer is among the most common cancer types among women not only in the US but across the world, including Türkiye, Soran said.

“We think that this vaccine will prevent the progression of breast cancer in the human body,” the Turkish professor added.

“The most important thing that the research group, including myself, has achieved is that a vaccine that has been developed and tested in a laboratory for years is now moving to clinical trial.”

Volunteers will be monitored for the next five years, and the vaccine will be approved for commercial use only after it is declared safe to use in larger clinical trials.

Second deadliest cancer type

Breast cancer is the second-most deadliest cancer after lung cancer among women, Soran said.

Around 360,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in the US in 2023, he said, adding that only 16 percent of them will get an early diagnosis.

“If the vaccine enters into force at this very phase, then we think we can prevent the disease from progressing in the bodies of at least a great part of those 360,000 women,” he said.

However, Soran added that clinical trials for the vaccine are going on at a slow pace because breast cancer does not pose an acute risk like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Upon being invited to the US in 1997 to work as an expert, Soran had become the very first person who earned professorship in 2004 at the Pittsburgh University’s Mammaplasty Department.

In 2007, he called his research shedding new light on advanced breast cancer the "Turkish Study". It is still recognised by the same name the world over.


French health minister urges mask wearing in case of small symptom of COVID-19

France's health minister on Monday urged people to adopt the "reflex of wearing a mask" in case of showing COVID-19 symptoms or contacting with vulnerable people.

"Today, we do not have this scenario," Aurelien Rousseau told broadcaster BFMTV when asked about mandatory use of face masks, as was the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The COVID-19 and its variants that we know neither present a danger, nor show a particularly preoccupying number of cases," he further said, adding that the government is continuing to monitor the situation.

"As soon as there is a small symptom or you are in contact with people under risk, you should get back the reflex to wear masks," Rousseau warned.

France recorded a slight increase in COVID-19 cases recently, and a hospital in the southwestern department of Gironde imposed mandatory use of masks inside the building.

The Health Ministry decided to launch a new vaccination campaign as of October for those under risk, including those older than 65, pregnant women and healthcare workers.

Source: Anadolu Agency

77 healthcare workers injured in occupied Palestinian territory in first 7 months of 2023: UN

At least 77 healthcare workers were injured, and 30 ambulances got damaged in occupied Palestinian territories in the first seven months of 2023, a UN official said on Saturday.

In a statement marking World Humanitarian Day, Lynn Hastings, humanitarian coordinator for occupied Palestinian territory, said thousands of "first responders" are involved in the effort to try and help about 2.1 million Palestinians who need humanitarian assistance.

She said humanitarians are working to assist the most vulnerable Palestinians and their commitment to helping others in times of crisis is "unwavering."

"Medical teams venture into dangerous areas amid gunfire and bombing to treat the injured; in the first seven months of 2023, upwards of 70 health care workers were injured, and 30 ambulances damaged," she said.

On Aug. 19, 2003, a bombing in Baghdad, Iraq claimed the lives of 22 humanitarian aid personnel, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Five years later, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution designating Aug. 19 as World Humanitarian Day.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Stability in number of new COVID cases in Cyprus, Health Ministry tells CNA

There is a stability in the number of new COVID cases in Cyprus, a Ministry of Health official told CNA on Friday.

In statements to CNA, Elisabeth Constantinou, Director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health said "stability is reflected in the number of new coronavirus cases", adding that according to official data, an average of about a thousand new cases are recorded per week.

Replying to Cyprus News Agency questions, in connection with the new variant of the coronavirus, Eris, that has already been detected in more than 50 countries, including Cyprus, Constantinou described it as a low-risk variant, explaining that the data shared by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) "do not cause particular concern."

Asked if there has been an increase in cases in recent weeks, Constantinou replied that there does not appear to be a significant increase compared to previous weeks. She said, "there is stability in the number of cases," and added that on average, there are about a thousand cases per week.

She noted that an increase had been observed in July, however, according to the latest data for the week of August 4th to 10th, 2023 there is stability, with approximately a thousand cases on average per week.

Constantinou clarified that after the end of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health no longer conducts random sampling tests. Nevertheless, she said that they monitor certain indicators and numbers to understand the trend.

She also said the Ministry of Health gathers data from cases that are detected after visits to hospitals or homes. She added that in Cyprus, the basic measures for vulnerable groups, such as mask-wearing and negative rapid tests within 72 hours in hospitals, elderly care homes, and enclosed facilities, are still maintained.

Constantinou also said that on Friday afternoon, the updated data from the new aggregation of positive samples for the week of August 11th to 17th, 2023, is expected to be released to the public.

Regarding the four cases of the new variant of the Eris coronavirus that have been detected in Cyprus, Constantinou said that they account for 5% of the positive cases for Covid-19 in Cyprus.

When asked if there are reasons for concern for the Autumn, especially with the return of students to schools, Constantinou said that what has been observed in other countries is the rapid transmission of this strain, and she noted that this is expected to follow suit in Cyprus as well.

She explained that the ECDC "does not appear to be particularly concerned about this variant of Covid," adding that "so far, the data show that while it will prevail, meaning it will be the strain we find more frequently among positive cases, the clinical picture does not seem to change, and there will not be a significant increase in clinical symptoms.

Asked whether the Ministry of Health has a plan for managing a potential resurgence in the coming autumn, the Director of Medical Services said that a meeting will be convened once all relevant parties return from their summer vacations, during which they will evaluate and take decisions. She emphasized that all available data must be considered and assessed. She stated, 'at present, there is no reason for concern."

Furthermore, she indicated that the Ministry of Health will evaluate all the available data and regarding other viral infections, such as the flu virus, common colds, and RSV, which is judged to be low based on official statistics.

Replying to another question, she said that the number of new hospital admissions was significantly reduced compared to the previous week. According to official data for the week of August 4th to 10th, 2023, there were 28 new admissions, whereas in the preceding week, 49 new admissions had been recorded.

Additionally, there were zero admissions to Intensive Care Units during the week of August 4th to 10th, 2023.

Source: Cyprus News Agency