Our medical resources are devoted to providing optimal patient care and to continuously ensure the highest quality of the services we provide.
This is accomplished through an integrated approach that brings the knowledge and skills of oncologists, physicians of different specializations as well as other caregivers to care for each individual case. The services provided to oncology patients and their families are the following:
Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
The initial finding of a tumor is frequently the beginning of a series of tests which to accurately determine the patient condition and will lead to the correct staging and will aid in the design of a treatment plan.
Chemotherapy is the treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is different from surgery or radiation therapy in that the cancer-fighting drugs circulate in the blood to parts of the body where the cancer may have spread and can kill or eliminate cancers cells at great distances from the original cancer.
Chemotherapy may consist of single drug or combinations of drugs, and can be administered through a vein or delivered orally in the form of a pill. Furthermore, many side effects once associated with chemotherapy, are now easily prevented or controlled, allowing many people to work, travel, and participate in many of their other normal activities while receiving chemotherapy.
Hormonal therapy blocks or prevents cancer cells from being exposed to hormones that cause them to grow.
Certain cells in the body, such as prostate and breast have hormone receptors on their surface. Hormones that naturally circulate in the body bind to these receptors and stimulate the cell to grow. Some cancer cells have many more of these receptors than normal, in this situation, the hormone receptors are said to be “overexpressed.” These cells are particularly sensitive to the growth-stimulating effects of hormones. Hormonal therapy either reduces the amount of hormone circulating in the body or blocks the receptors so that the hormones cannot bind and stimulate the cell.
Biological treatment and Immunotherapy
It is the cancer treatment with agents the mimic substances that exist in the human body (such as Antibodies) and target the cancer cells specifically. These treatments are more effective and less toxic than chemotherapy. Immunotherapy stimulates the patient’s own immune system to attack the malignant tumor cells that are responsible for the disease. This can be either through immunization of the patient by administering a cancer vaccine, in which case the patient’s own immune system is trained to recognize tumor cells as targets to be destroyed, or through the administration of therapeutic antibodies as drugs, in which case the patient’s immune system is recruited to destroy tumor cells by the therapeutic antibodies.
After the cancer is treated effectively the patient needs to be followed closely for tumor recurrence and late treatment side effects. Our doctors will follow up patient progress through periodic checkups and examinations, will suggest the necessary tests for each visit and will review the results with the patient. The interval of follow up testing increases as the years from diagnosis increase.
Many cancers are preventable. The team offers information on your risk for developing cancer and risk reducing strategies, such as quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol use, exercising and adhering to a healthy diet. Additionally, some cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to certain infectious organisms (viruses and bacteria) or to environmental carcinogens (ex. Asbestos).
Some cancer types can be diagnosed early when they are still curable by having screening tests such as mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopy and PSA. Finally, families at increased rick for specific cancers because of genetic predisposition should seek genetic counseling regarding special risk reducing strategies.
Support and Education of Patient and Family
The lives of patients’ families are usually as affected by the disease as the patient. The support of those influenced is a must and may frequently need the contribution of specialists such as psychologists, child psychologists, sociologists etc. Our group collaborates with several professionals and non-profit organizations that are active in this field. Though we are always sensitive to look for such issues, our patients and their families should also feel free to consult us on such issues.
Sometimes cancer is advanced and the patient needs supportive care and palliation of the symptoms of the disease. Though usually neglected, the role of the oncologist in this phase is as important as in the treatment phase. Our group works closely with patient families to ensure the best possible quality of life for the patients.
Some patients may require additional tests, second opinions or treatments to be carried out in centers or by Specialists outside Greece. Our team is in close scientific and professional relations with a number of international cancer treatment centers and prominent Cancer Specialists, and we provide coordination of all disciplines that may be required in completing the diagnostic and therapeutic process by these centers and specialists.