There are 700,000 deaths from breast cancer every year. In Greece breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and the third most common cancer in the Greek population representing 12% of all cases in 2020. Vara, the startup known for its AI-powered breast cancer screening and data management platform, has now entered a new partnership with MITERA, the largest private hospital in Greece and a memeber of Hellenic Healthcare Group, the largest healthcare services group in Greece.

The partnership

The partnership is the first step in MITERA and Vara’s shared mission to increase access to breast screening for women across Greece, and the rest of the world. Catching breast cancer early, through sufficient screening programmes, can significantly increase the chances of survival, from 27% to 98%. However, only a few countries offer such screening programmes creating a huge divergence in the chances of survival, depending on where women live and their ability to afford expensive private screening.

Following implementation in Athens, the companies’ shared vision is to give women across the country access to comprehensive diagnostics and care, to enable decentralized screening centers in towns, villages and surrounding islands. Women in these rural regions are currently disadvantaged due to a lack of access to quality-assured breast screening services. These screening centers will feed into highly specialized diagnostic clinics where further diagnostic work-up and appropriate management will be ensured. 

On the record

Jonas Muff, co-founder and CEO of Vara, said: “It’s completely unjust that millions of women worldwide have an increased risk of dying from breast cancer, or are having to undergo invasive treatments because of a lack of sufficient screening. Health pioneers like MITERA, and Dr. Alexandra Athanasiou’s team are working tirelessly to close this diagnostic gap in Greece and we’re delighted to be bringing our AI-powered platform to join them in this cause. Used in this way, our technology can help make screening affordable and accessible to women who, without it, are being denied access to what we believe are their fundamental rights to better breast cancer care.”

Dr. Alexandra Athanasiou, Head of Breast Imaging at MITERA, adds: “MITERA has been at the forefront of providing comprehensive care to women for more than 40 years and our partnership with Vara will allow us to build on this experience by bringing cutting-edge diagnostic tools to the assistance of our teams of radiologists. Vara has been having a significant impact on the care of women in Germany and I’m looking forward to bringing these benefits to the women in our clinics and across Greece.”

Petros Papachristou, CIO of Hellenic Healthcare Group shares: “HHG is the leading healthcare provider in Greece and Cyprus with advanced diagnostic imaging for inpatient and outpatient care that support our specialized cancer care centres.  We expect the Vara solution at MITERA Hospital will be the starting point to expand a benchmarked solution to our hospitals and health diagnostic centres. HHG is uniquely positioned to realise the potential of AI and big data in the benefit of patients and doctors.”

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