Visiting the morning program, Dr. Ivana Božović-Spasojević, medical oncologist and head of the Day Hospital for Chemotherapy at the Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia, says that facing metastatic breast cancer is one of the most difficult moments in a woman’s life.
According to her, it is not easy to face the diagnosis of a malignant disease, and after the initial shock and anger “why is this happening to me”, the patients want to get the right information so that they can go through the entire treatment easier and better.
“Various information is available today. We wanted to provide them with reliable information that is scientifically substantiated, impartial, timely, and I think that we will achieve that with this education,” Bozovic-Spasojevic points out.
With this online education, patients will get answers to important questions such as: what is the type of disease, what is the subtype of cancer, how is the tumor treated, what are the therapeutic options in our country, what are the therapeutic options in the world, how to go through treatment meaning what side effects can be expected.
“In that way, we wanted to enable patients to have an insight into the treatment plan, which will certainly help them go through the entire treatment, which often lasts several months,” says Dr. Božović-Spasojević.
He adds that an important part of that education will be made by the patients themselves who have gone through the treatment process and who will tell other patients about their personal experience from their experience.
The education is designed to be interactive, there will be a portal and a forum, the possibility of communication with a medical oncologist and patients who are now in the role of educators.
The web address of the training will be forwarded at the promotion of this action on March 20.
10 percent of women have metastatic disease
Metastatic breast cancer is the fourth stage, the most advanced stage. At the time of diagnosis of malignancy, 10 percent of these women have metastatic disease.
“This means that we are not talking only about local treatment, because when the tumor is in an early stage, then it is possible to carry out treatment locally, ie surgically, and then radiation therapy is performed, which is the most common and systemic additional treatment. the disease spread and affected distant organs, then we talk about the fact that systemic treatment is primary. In a third of the patients we treated in the early disease, unfortunately, despite the best therapy, the disease will return, “explains medical oncologist Ivana Bozovic-Spasojevic.
He emphasizes that chemotherapy is actually non-specific. It is not determined on the basis of the tumor subtype, it has a unique mechanism of action and acts non-selectively and very often acts on healthy cells. Therefore, there are often side effects in terms of hair loss, nausea, changes in blood count.
“Targeted therapy acts on the mechanism that the tumor cell uses. We cannot say that targeted therapy has no side effects, it has, but they are usually smaller, it is oral therapy and patients can take it at home,” says Bozovic-Spasojevic.
Oncology has changed
He points out that oncology has changed a lot in the last 20 years. From chemotherapy, which was only applied, today we have come for all localizations in the first lines of treatment when the disease is small, there is a lot of targeted therapy.
“It is essential to preserve the quality of life, not to impair general health and to enable targeted therapy to be given for as long as possible. If you have enough of that therapy, you will have the opportunity to treat the patient longer. Therefore, you have the opportunity to translate the disease into chronic.” is the goal of today’s oncology therapy “, says medical oncologist Ivana Božović-Spasojević.
He points out that breast cancer most often occurs in postmenopausal women, after the age of 50, when screening was organized in Serbia. It is very important, if we know some risk factors for the development of breast cancer, to know that physical activity and maintaining a normal body weight are important.
“The next would be preventive examinations and I hope that when Kovid passes, the system of inviting women for preventive examinations and mammography will be more efficient. I think it is very important for oncology in Serbia to decentralize it because a large number of patients and tertiary institutions like the Institute I can’t accept all patients “, says Dr. Ivana Božović-Spasojević, medical oncologist and head of the Day Hospital for Chemotherapy of the Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia.