Pneumology, as the specialized Medicine in general, has been closely monitoring what happens in the rest of Europe regarding the technical and scientific level.
In the last few years important advances have been made regarding diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the respiratory system in Portugal. The development of new diagnosis techniques and new treatments allowed to better controlling these pathologies, improving the patients’ quality of life and increasing their life expectancy.
The respiratory system diseases have considerable incidence and prevalence in the Portuguese population. Throughout the last few years the number of patients affected by these types of diseases has increased, as a consequence of the aging of the population, the increase of the environmental contamination and the tobacco consumption, among other factors. This growing prevalence tendency of afflictions in the respiratory system is likely to be maintained in the next few years.
One of the diseases where a greater increase in the number of cases is expected is the bronchopulmonary cancer, besides others such as the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma and sleep apnoea. Among the bronchopulmonary infectious diseases, the prediction varies: pulmonary infections as consequence of HIV infection tend to increase, whereas the non-specific acute respiratory infections, pneumonias and viral infections shall remain stable; the number of tuberculosis cases tends to decrease and, afterwards, stabilize. Other diseases, such as pleural pathology, professional and immunological respiratory are predicted to stabilize or increase; vascular, cystic fibrosis and bronchopulmonary dystasia tend to stabilize or decrease.
The “Programa Nacional de Luta contra o Cancro do Pulmão” (National Program of Fight Against Lung Cancer) shall have the following fundamental objectives:
– Prevention actions, namely reducing inhaled carcinogenic pollutants, such as the tobacco smoke and other environmental and professional pollutants;
– Correct characterization of the lung cancer epidemiology in Portugal;
– Actions leading to early diagnosis, with particular incidence in propaganda;
– Establishment of national protocols for diagnosis and treatment;
– Support measures to patients and their families;
– Interdisciplinary cooperation with the purpose of improving the prognosis and the patients’ quality of life.