The first in Italy, Lombardy recognized the facilities for the treatment of pancreatic cancer: this is how the first hub&spoke network of Pancreas Units is defined, made up of 11 reference centers – the hubs – and 29 centers in the area – the spokes – (here is the list), who will work in a coordinated manner. An important result, achieved thanks to the push of patient associations: “Patients’ first need is to be informed about where to be treated – underlines Piero Rivizzigno, president of the Codice Viola association, dedicated to pancreatic cancer – Going to the reference center instead of to a peripheral center with no experience makes a huge difference for the survival and quality of life of patients”. The resolution of the regional council, approved last January 29, also introduces a decisive “clause”: from next April, only the 11 Hubs will be able to carry out operations for pancreatic cancer at the expense of the regional health system. The objective is to concentrate the activity in these highly specialized centers, to ensure patients the best expertise. In any case, these are accredited public or private healthcare facilities (the required requirements had already been identified in the DGR n. XI/6241/2022 and their maintenance will be verified).
by Massimo Falconi
The centers of the hub&spoke network
The resolution indicates five of the 11 hub centers in the city of Milan and its hinterland (ASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda; ASST Ovest Milanese of Legnano; Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori Milan; IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas of Rozzano; IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele), while the others are located in Bergamo (ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII), Brescia (ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia) Cremona (ASST of Cremona), Pavia (Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo) and Varese (ASST Sette Laghi – Ospedale di Circolo and Fond. Macchi) .
Among the Spoke Centers we find those for Medical Oncology, those for Diagnostic and Interventional Digestive Endoscopy/Gastroenterology, and those for Radiotherapy. The network model – they explain from the Region – allows for centers spread across the territory that guarantee the diagnosis, oncological, endoscopic and radiotherapy treatments of this type of tumor.
by Fabio Di Todaro
In memory of Gianluca Vialli
Approximately 2,400 people receive a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in Lombardy every year, a neoplasm which to date still has a high mortality rate, in most cases discovered already in an advanced stage. “We have maintained our commitment to create a specific network for pancreatic oncological diseases also in the name of Gianluca Vialli and all the people who have suffered from this disease – said the Welfare councilor Guido Bertolaso – The objective is to be able to treat this tumor more and more effectively, which in the vast majority of cases to date, unfortunately, does not allow for a sufficient life expectancy. The multidisciplinary organization of the network will allow patients to follow a predefined and integrated diagnostic-therapeutic care path, provided by centers with adequate technologies, competent staff and high treatment volumes. We continue to work to combat this terrible pathology with the tenacity that Gianluca taught us.”