The pandemic is causing delays in screening, early diagnosis and monitoring of patients. Even in this particular moment FAVO is at the side of those who care for a sick person.
A month. Four weeks. A short period of time, which can make a difference when it comes to cancer treatment. This is confirmed by research conducted at Queen's University in Kingston which appeared in the British Medical Journal. The study, based on data obtained from surveys carried out in the first months of 2020, therefore at the time of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, shows that in general a delay of one month of the planned treatment would increase from 6 to 13 percent risk of dying from cancer. In particular for breast cancer, postponing the operation to remove the lesion by two months would increase the risk of death by 17 percent and if the wait reaches 12 weeks, the percentage risk could rise to 26 percent. Obviously, a similar trend is also observed for pharmacological treatments, both neoadjuvant (ie to be done before surgery) and curative after the operation, and radiotherapy, based on the time of the disease. Together with Elisabetta Iannelli, Secretary General of the Federation of Italian Associations of Voluntary Service in Oncology (FAVO), we explore what has happened, what is happening and what are the best strategies to minimize the impact of the pandemic on people facing cancer.
The impact of the pandemic and the role of those who assist
"Screening, early diagnosis and monitoring of patients are fundamental in the approach to cancer and unfortunately in this period there have been delays in this sense", reports Iannelli. "It should always be considered that treating Covid-19 adequately is fundamental but at the same time one cannot" forget "non-Covid diseases, which have a heavy impact on people. This is why a particular commitment is needed to meet the needs and requirements of the people who are being treated for the various forms of cancer ”. In this sense, FAVO is at the side of people also offering a series of information and practical advice to face the needs of everyday life. The organization's activity is obviously not limited only to supporting patients, but also to caregivers who, as Iannelli points out, are key figures in the path of care and assistance to the sick. On this front, FAVO's commitment is very strong, also considering the value of those who care for the sick. "There needs to be more attention to these people: if for those who have an employee job, even if the situation can obviously be improved, there is still a way to have time to dedicate to a sick relative, for those who have an independent activity caregiver changes life radically ”remembers Iannelli. This is why we are very committed to having the rights of those who care for a person with cancer recognized in all cases ”.
With the contribution of Roche S.p.A.