Colorectal cancer is the second most frequent form of cancer in Italy
A million of potentially undiagnosed cancer cases, 100 million screening tests not performed, 1 in 2 people with potential cancer symptoms not referred for diagnosis, 1 in 5 cancer patients still without the necessary surgical or chemotherapy treatment: these are the numbers of the impact of Covid-19 on cancer in Europe, according to the study just published by the European Cancer Organization (ECO).
Based on these data ECO launches these days Time to Act, a European campaign to urge public opinion, cancer patients and healthcare professionals to commit, each in their own sphere, to ensure that Covid does not continue to undermine the fight against cancer. L’European Institute of Oncology actively participates in the initiative.
“Re-imagining cancer services, reconstructing them better and in a more intelligent way is one of the 7 points of the action plan of Time to Act on which IEO has been particularly focused – he declares Roberto Orecchia, Scientific Director IEO- The typical example is the enhancement of televisite, where possible, or the renovation of the internal and external spaces of the hospital, which has expanded the waiting areas available to patients and carers, doubling the spaces to ensure social distancing. Or the accurate and timely management of vaccinations for both IEO staff and patients, a fundamental activity destined to last over time. And above all, the constant updating of technologies to obtain maximum speed and precision both in diagnosis and in therapies. The development in this area has been and is transversal to all areas: from diagnostics, enhanced with new CT and CT-PET, to a new Pathological Anatomy, to Research, where new infrastructures have been created by converting some laboratories to Covid studies, up to therapy, which will soon make use of a therapeutic vaccine against follicular lymphomas, cell therapies with CAR-T and, within two years, protons. “
“We need to counteract the feeling of cancer patients that they have been forgotten and sidelined during the pandemic with an even better offer of care than the pre-covid period. In reality, the clinics were closed a few weeks and in any case the non-postponable therapies were always guaranteed in safety. But the understandable fear of contagion, linked to the frailty of the cancer patient, has kept patients away from hospitals for many months, and even today many tend to postpone screening and early diagnosis. It is essential to help the population overcome these fears if we want to prevent Covid from putting a stop to the fight against cancer “concludes Orecchia.