Il Stomach cancer remains one of the most aggressive and only 32% of those affected survive 5 years after diagnosis, but the introduction of immunotherapy drugs has heralded a lengthening of disease-free life for patients. However, those who survive have to deal with continuous checks and need help. The national seminar dedicated to gastric cancer organized by the “Living without a stomach is possible” association spoke about the needs and rights of these patients. Only in 4 out of 10 cases stomach cancer manages to be operated on in a radical way and therefore have a hope of recovery. Even for gastroresected patients, however, there is no shortage of problems.
“Undergoing stomach resection involves numerous physical and psychological adaptations: accepting the lack of the organ, managing the fear of recurrence and therefore of dying, accepting malnutrition and weight loss – declares Claudia Santangelo, president of “Living without a stomach is possible” – for this reason we ask that the figure of the psycho-oncologist be foreseen within the multidisciplinary Units. Psychological support is now considered an active and integral part of treatment by the scientific community”.
“Il patient must be supported and helped to accept the disease and to find the courage to face it, this is the main objective of psychosocial assistance”, underlines Rodolfo Passalacqua, oncologist at the Cremona hospital and coordinator of the Aiom guidelines for the psychosocial assistance of cancer patients.
“Over 45% of gastroresected patients – explains Patrizia Pugliese, a psycho-oncologist – suffer from changes in the sexual sphere and more than a third ask for assistance. Unfortunately, this question does not correspond to an adequate answer”. This figure should be placed inside the Regional Diagnostic Therapeutic Assistance Pathways (Pdta) or tools with the aim of standardizing the clinical approach to this pathology“which unfortunately still exist only in 3 Regions”, concludes Santangelo.
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