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Bulgarian Cancer Patients Seek Salvation in Turkey September 15, 2012

Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria, Turkey.
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Bulgaria: Bulgarian Cancer Patients Seek Salvation in Turkey
When struck by a severe condition, many Bulgarian cancer patients go abroad for treatment – if they can afford it, of course. File photo

Nearly two thousand Bulgariancancer patients have sought help and hope in neighboring Turkeyover the last few months, turning it into the latest hot spot in what has become known as “health tourism”.

These are the figures, released by an unnamed prestigious Turkish oncology clinic, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.

Experts attribute the trend to the modern equipment Turkish oncology clinics boast and the attractive price list, which – though too costly for the average Bulgarian – is still cheaper than the EU average.

Oncology clinics in Turkey are also capitalizing on the sad fact that Bulgaria is the only EU country, which marks an increase in the number of people diagnosed with and dying of cancer.

To top it all off, most Bulgarian patients do not trust the doctors they meet here and the diagnoses they hear. That’s why when struck by a severe condition, those who can afford it go abroad for treatment.

Bulgarian oncology experts and doctors however have called on cancer patients not to fall for what they see as Turkey‘s ad trick, assuring they are perfectly qualified to diagnose cancer diseases and treat them.

The lack of funding in Bulgaria‘s problem-ridden and facilities-short health system however is continuing to force hundreds of cancer patients in Bulgaria to seek treatment abroad.

Patients often find themselves in a Russian roulette kind of game – they are forced to change their medication with less useful and more destructive for their body drugs or finance trips to Turkey or Greece because of chronic shortages in their home country, as well as bad publicity for the treatment they get at home.

The last hope for the less fortunate lies with their own family and the patients’ organizations, who are struggling to make Bulgaria a full member of the globalcancer awareness campaign.

Estimates of patients and doctors show that at least BGN 300 M per year is needed to cover the costs for cancer medication in Bulgaria. The cash-strapped country finds it more than difficult to find the money.

The treatment of Bulgarian cancer patients is exclusively an obligation of the state, but another problem is that Bulgaria remains the only European country, whose biggest hospitals do not have a foundation affiliated to them to help financially in times of austerity.



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