Live an equal life. On a par with those who have not been affected by cancer, for example. On a par with those who can stipulate a mortgage contract without having to demonstrate that they are not a cancer patient. In short, being citizens like everyone else: this is what cancer patients from Lazio, resident or undergoing treatment in this Region, ask for. And they asked for it forcefully during the meeting “The living rooms of oncology” organized by the AIOM Lazio Regional Board (Italian Association of Medical Oncology), which proposes a comparison between the medical component (belonging to large institutions and hospitals) and civil society (patient associations and media). Objective: to improve access to assistance and care for patients affected by cancer.
Cases in Lazio
As happens in the rest of the country, an increase in cancer cases is also being recorded in Lazio. 31 thousand every year, as he points out Alessandra Fabi, Coordinator AIOM Lazio and Head of UOSD Precision Medicine in Senology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Twins”. Due to this increase, the regional healthcare system faces an increased workload. Which, however, does not just consist of the administration of therapies alone. Because great attention must also be paid to the quality of life during and after anti-cancer treatments.
by Tiziana Moriconi
An illness that can be cured
“Today, new possibilities are available even for the management of the most aggressive forms of cancer,” he comments Emilio Bria, head of the Simple Departmental Unit of Thoraco-Pulmonary Oncology at the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital in Rome. Innovative therapies, recently introduced into clinical practice, and combinations of molecular and chemotherapeutic drugs. Thanks to these new and effective tools, today in Italy one in four cancer patients recovers from the disease. This means a longer life, which however must not be burdened by the memory of cancer, especially at a bureaucratic level. For this reason, AIOM has been working for some time, alongside associations, to support the right to oncological oblivion, that is, the right of recovered patients not to have to communicate their previous state of health to bodies or institutes, so as to be able to obtain a mortgage or loan without problems. “At the same time – adds Fabi however – those carrying cancer risk should also be protected, such as people who have mutations associated with neoplasms, such as those of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations that can be identified thanks to genetic tests that must be guaranteed”.
by Letizia Gabaglio
The example of the Breast Units
Another point touched upon during the meeting is that of multidisciplinarity, an approach which is used for example in the case of breast cancer in the Breast Units, guaranteeing uniformity of diagnosis and therapy throughout the territory, as recalled Agnese Fabbri, Head of the Breast Unit Center of the ASL of Viterbo. Without forgetting the importance of follow-up, because – adds Antonella Savarese, Medical Director at Hospital Physiotherapeutic Institutes – Regina Elena National Cancer Institute – cancer is a disease that can recur even years later. For this reason the patient must be accompanied, also on a psychological level, in the delicate phase following the end of the therapies.