PRESS RELEASE:

Bucharest, December 12, 2019 - The Association of Cancer Patients (ABC), in partnership with the Bucharest Oncology Institute of and MSD Romania, mark the Day of the Cancer Survivor by launching the Romanian translation of the Patient Guide on Survivorship. The guide was created by the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the European Coalition of Cancer Patients (ECPC), in collaboration with the International Society of Psycho-Oncologists (IPOS).

Survivorship focuses on health and the physical, psychological, social and economic issues affecting people after the end of the primary treatment for cancer. Post treatment cancer survivors range from people having no disease after finishing treatment, people who continue to receive treatment to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back and people with well controlled disease and few symptoms, who receive treatment to manage cancer as a chronic disease.

„The guide on survivorship provides cancer patients with a compact manual on how to ameliorate different aspects of our life through cancer from nutrition, to physical activities, stress management and improved immunity. Cancer survivors are encouraged to follow lifestyle recommendations to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. The most important message of the guide is: don’t give up and ask for help!” says ECPC Board Member Vasile Ianovici.

Survivorship care includes issues related to follow-up care, the management of late side-effects of treatment, the improvement of quality of life and psychological and emotional health. Survivorship care includes also future anticancer treatment where applicable.  

Survival rates in cancer have increased significantly in recent decades, due to the progress of medicine, early detection and improved patient care. At the same time, attention has also been paid to the different aspects of survival - physical, mental, emotional, social, financial and economic well-being, and the guide clearly provides support and information in this area,” said Lidia Kajanto, manager of the Bucharest Oncology Institute.

The first chapter of the Patient Guide on Survivorship contains all the details about the survivor's support in coping with the new realities - from support groups, psychological support for patients and their families, to explaining the role that health care professionals have in this post-treatment stage (oncologist, family doctor, etc.).

The Patient Guide on Survivorship is the most important onco-planning tool since the launch of the concept of oncological survival in 1985. Psychosocial support has long been neglected in cancer treatment even though data show that between 30% and 50% of cancer survivors suffer from significant oncological distress, enough to justify the intervention of the psycho-oncologist. This guide helps prepare and psycho-educate cancer survivors by paying close attention to psychosocial support and issues by facilitating future decision-making, such as returning to the workplace", said Dégi Csaba, IPOS Director.

Preventive health is another important topic provided in the guide. Survivors are explained what are the main changes they have to make in their lifestyle in order to enjoy good physical and emotional health. 

Health literacy is the key factor in making important decisions about a healthy lifestyle or preventive health. A high level of health literacy will directly contribute to increasing a person's ability to navigate the health system or to understand the care and treatment plan in the survival period, to manage their chronic disease. The guide will contribute to improving the quality of life of people with cancer, an increasing number of survivors”, said Nicolas Renard, Managing Director MSD Romania.

The last chapter of the guide offers information on further care after cancer treatment and methods of prevention, early detection of new tumors by patients and their families.

Survivorship is a unique and ongoing experience, which is different for each person and those close to them. A key to survivorship is to regain, as far as possible, the important aspects of your life before cancer, and to find new pathways to a satisfactory life going forward.

The guide addresses the psycho-social needs that patients are facing, needs not currently covered by the health system and to which we, the patient associations, are trying to find solutions. This tool will be used by support groups and will complement educational campaigns designed to change the perspective on cancer, to encourage discussion about cancer survival and what it means to be a person with cancer in Romania”, said Cezar Irimia, President of ABC.

 

Cancer figures

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, nearly 10 million people die from this disease each year. At least a third of the common cancers are preventable. Up to 3.7 million lives can be saved each year by implementing adequate resources for cancer prevention, early detection and treatment strategies1.

In Romania in 2018, an estimated 83.000 new cases of cancer have been detected. It is estimated that 50.902 people lost their life to cancer last year. The number of patients in the national register during the period January-September 2018 was 488.824 persons compared to 469.624 patients remaining in the same period of the year 20172.      

                

References:

  1. World cancer Day la http://www.worldcancerday.org/about/2019-2021-world-cancer-day-campaign
  2. As per Globocan 2018 data (Globocan Cancer Observatory)