Home Health Cancer, -18% of surgical interventions due to Covid. Aiom: “Getting screening and treatment restart”

Cancer, -18% of surgical interventions due to Covid. Aiom: “Getting screening and treatment restart”

by admin

The ‘photograph’ of the damage that Covid-19 has left in the field of oncology is marked by the negative sign: -11% of new diagnoses, – 13% of pharmacological treatments, -18% of surgical interventions. A series of numbers that raise fear of the possibility that many patients will arrive at the diagnosis of a new tumor in an already advanced stage. For this reason, the Italian oncologists are launching an appeal asking to return to investing and promoting the fight against cancer given that most of the cancer patients have been vaccinated against Covid and thus made safe. An appeal launched on the occasion of the launch of the Congress of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which takes place in virtual form from 4 to 8 June, and which this year has as its slogan “Equity: Every Patient, Every Day, Everywhere ”, that is“ Equity: for every patient, every day and everywhere ”.

ASCO 2021

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The risk of late diagnosis

More than a year after the start of the pandemic, the situation in our country is very difficult for the more than 3 million people living with cancer. “There have been numerous delays or postponements for diagnostic and follow-up tests,” he says Giordano Beretta, Aiom national president. “The real and concrete risk is that of recording a sharp increase in cancers diagnosed at a more advanced stage. The priority must be the resumption of examinations and treatments throughout the national territory. We are still seeing cases of patients who do not show up in our facilities to receive healthcare services. We must therefore strongly reiterate that Italian hospitals are now absolutely safe places and that health personnel have been vaccinated. The risk of contracting the Coronavirus is very low, practically close to zero. On the contrary, oncological pathologies are always very dangerous and before the start of the pandemic they caused more than 180 thousand deaths every year. A figure that could also increase due to Covid-19 and its harmful consequences on the entire national health system “.

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ASCO 2021

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The relaunch of secondary prevention

Secondary prevention must also be relaunched after the abrupt stop it recorded in the first months of the pandemic. “Last year we had over two and a half million fewer screening exams than in 2019 and we must therefore start a recovery plan for these exams which are of fundamental importance”, he continues Saverio Cinieri, president-elect Aiom. “An extraordinary commitment is needed, for example, by activating health workers even on weekends to carry out mammograms for the early diagnosis of breast cancer. As regards the search for occult blood in the faeces for the detection of colorectal cancer, the involvement of pharmacists can be foreseen. Finally, the promotion of healthy lifestyles should not be neglected, which has always seen the commitment of our Scientific Society with campaigns aimed at the entire population. Some bad behaviors such as smoking or alcohol abuse have increased in recent months also due to the Coronavirus “.

Equity and inequality of our National Health System

The theme of this year’s Asco congress is that of equity of care for all patients, wherever they are. In Italy is it guaranteed or do the atavistic regional differences make it impractical? “We are in a privileged position because we have a universalistic system that does not ask the patient to pay for the services himself as happens, however, in the United States”, replies Beretta. “This is an advantage even if at times it puts us late with respect to access to new drugs which, being the responsibility of the National Health System, I have to go through a series of approvals that lengthen the time a bit. Of course there are some issues that need to be optimized such as, for example, genomic tests that are already available free of charge for patients at risk but only in some regions, but this disparity is already being worked on. Now we are asking for an intervention by national and local institutions to continue to be able to provide the levels of assistance prior to the advent of Covid-19 “.

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