Humanity, science and technology to challenge cancer in the time of Covid-19

Umanità, scienza e tecnologia per sfidare i tumori in tempo di Covid-19

Even in this pandemic period, the challenge to cancer starts with information and sharing

Four years ago #afiancodelcoraggio started, an initiative wanted by Roche to highlight the role and value of those who take care of those who face an illness through narration. The initiative began by "collecting" and telling stories of men who assisted women with gynecological cancers, then the stories of those who dealt with blood diseases such as haemophilia and multiple sclerosis were the protagonists. Now, in the fourth edition, we have returned to talk of cancer. In four years, however, the horizons of cancer treatment itself have changed, for the better. Giordano Beretta, President of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM), reminds her of the value of taking charge by the caregiver and of his story to "humanize" the challenge to cancer.

The disease will be increasingly "chronic"

In just a few years, the advances in cancer treatment have been continuous. And today, thanks to the increasing availability of drugs that hit exactly a specific target together with the fact that specialists are using immunotherapy better and better, it is no longer a dream to speak of cancer as a chronic disease, which is held under control that helps the body to defend itself. "There has been a great development in science and research that is allowing us, at least for some forms of cancer, to focus on the goal of chronicization, that is to follow the disease over time with targeted treatments, thus making it chronic" explains Beretta . “This is a fundamental step forward that people must know in a vision that must see the patient and family members increasingly informed protagonists of the care choices. Only thanks to information can we create that concordance of objectives and shared choices that can allow us to obtain the best results in the challenge of cancer ".

Obviously, in this sense, "listening" to the experiences of others who are facing the same challenge, close to those who suffer, becomes an instrument of knowledge as well as a testimony. Precisely in this lies the value of #afiancodelcoraggio: by telling and experiencing the stories of others through narration, we add pieces of important information in the challenge to cancer. "Warning: do not think that everything has to go through advances in technology and science or that the possibility of" meeting "at a distance through various devices can replace the heat of the doctor's hand resting on the patient's abdomen or a spoken word face to face ”recalls Beretta. "These aspects, regardless of how much we have been" removed "from our patients in the era of Covid-19, will always be at the center of the doctor's work and in particular of the oncologist, who must make empathy and the relationship with the patient and with those who assist him real "tools" of care ".

The impact of Covid-19 on early diagnosis and cancer treatment

According to data released recently by AIOM, the Covid-19 pandemic has put and continues to put a strain on the health system, causing significant delays in screening activities – about 1,400,000 fewer tests compared to the first 5 months of 2019 – and on surgical interventions, a decrease in visits by 57% and diagnoses by 50%. Obviously, in addition to these clinical and preventive aspects, we must remember Beretta's words: the patient is treated with his whole life, his dreams, his friendships, his passions. And not the disease. Thus #afiancodelcoraggio becomes a way of giving support to the emotional situation of cancer patients and their caregivers, who together with anxiety about the risk of a pandemic are facing a tumor and must emotionally manage both the disease and the collective sentiment. The initiative aims to give support and value to this courage, a daily undertaking for those seeking strength in a smile, in a painting, in a look. In short: it is an initiative designed to support women, but whose protagonists are men.

With the contribution of Roche S.p.A.

Category: Health
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