Prevent and cure: How Moscow fights cancer

Prevent and cure: How Moscow fights cancer
People in Moscow can take free cancer screening tests, clinics are given grants for early cancer detection, and cutting-edge life-saving treatments are covered by mandatory health insurance. Read this piece for more details on cancer treatment and prevention in Moscow.

The early detection of cancer increases chances of full recovery. It is for this reason that mass screening tests are regularly conducted in Moscow to diagnose the most widespread types of cancer. These tests are free for Moscow residents.

In addition to this, the city organises events to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent chronic infectious diseases, as well as timely check-ups and preventive examinations. These take place not only in Moscow’s healthcare institutions, but also in parks, shopping centres, at the workplace or in educational institutions. The events include lectures, and distribution of reference material, as well as express tests for detecting chronic non-communicable diseases and their risk factors. People attending these events also get medical advice.

Taken together, all this ensures continuity in the provision of health services to cancer patients at all stages and increases early cancer detection rates.

Assistance network and new routing system

There are several institutions in Moscow specialised in providing primary care to oncology patients, including district-level oncology treatment centres in the Southern and Southeastern administrative areas (oncology treatment centre and oncology treatment centre No. 5), oncology clinics within the clinical oncology treatment centre, the Moscow City Oncology Hospital No. 62, as well as the Bakhrushin Brothers City Clinical Hospital.

The Pletnev City Clinical Hospital also has an oncology treatment centre within its structure, and there are 11 oncology treatment stations in Moscow’s outpatient clinics, cancer posts in clinics, and a city ocular oncology centre at the Botkin City Clinical Hospital.

Mechanisms to detect cancer and suspected cases have been developed in Moscow along with a patient routing scheme, making pre-hospital examinations less time-consuming for 70 percent of patients. People now spend less time waiting for an appointment at cancer treatment centres or dedicated departments at general hospitals.

State-of-the-art tests

In 2016, Moscow became one of the first Russian regions to introduce positron emission tomography and computer tomography (PET/CT) scans, all covered by mandatory insurance. In the programme’s first year 8,656 scans were carried out, reaching 18,773 in 2017. PET/CT scans help to understand the progression of the disease and to select the best kind of treatment. A single coordination centre was created in 2017 to streamline patient routing, reducing waiting time for a test down to 11.7 days. More health institutions join the programme every year. In 2018, some 27,000 scans are expected to be performed under this programme.


Moscow clinics have all the equipment they need to offer a wide range of ultrasound and endoscopic tests, as well as CT scans. Algorithms were developed for doctors in outpatient clinics for facilitating early cancer detection.

Moreover, the Moscow Government created a special grant programme called Early Diagnostics – Defeat Cancer. It was designed to promote early cancer detection. In April, 25 hospitals and clinics received 32 million roubles as part of this initiative. In January, 19 health institutions benefited from funding with the total allocations under the programme exceeding 115 million roubles. Another eight health institutions received grants for improving preventive care.

Clinics get grants ranging from 30,000 to 115,000 roubles for every case of successful early cancer detection for prostate cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung and stomach cancers. These funds go toward paying bonuses to medical workers.

A healthy future

On 7 July, a large-scale campaign titled ‘I Chose a Healthy Future’ was launched in Moscow. Held on Saturdays, it will run until 22 September 2018. During the first three days of 7, 14 and 21 July, more than 23,000 Moscow residents took cancer screening tests. Women were screened for breast and ovarian cancer, while men were tested for prostate cancer.

Free cancer screenings were also offered in March, when more than 16,000 people, including 12,000 women were tested. As a result, several dozen patients had to start treatment, and some were advised to have regular oncology check-ups.