8 out of 10 Italians have daily difficulties

Strongly impaired activities due to tumor pathology. For eight out of ten Italians, prostate cancer represents a major obstacle to work (61%), in intimacy (57%), in sport (27%) and in the pursuit of one’s hobby (48%).

To these difficulties were then added, in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the difficulties of access to care pathways with regard to the overall organization of the National Health System.

35% of patients – again the figures to better define the contours of a disturbing postcard – denounces the criticality of contacting the specialist; 36% find it difficult to approach follow-up examinations, while 23% find it rather difficult to complete the medical documentation correctly. And again: well over half of patients consider the help provided by local directors of medicine insufficient.

To sketch a rather discouraging picture is the online survey that saw 411 patients give their opinion at the invitation of the Italian Society of Uro-Oncology (SIUrO). The results, illustrated during a webinar entitled “Prostate cancer”, will enrich the series of data and information collected by SIUrO thanks to the online events baptized by the Company through the project “SIUrO meeting patients and caregivers”. Once a month, experts from the medical-scientific association will discuss all aspects of urological tumors at 360 degrees: from prevention to therapy; from the impact on daily life to the bureaucratic-administrative barriers, up to the actual rehabilitation phase.

The protagonists of online events, alongside cancer patients, are simple Internet users and medical-health personnel who will be able to ask targeted questions of specialists in the field.

“Cancer of the prostate (prostate cancer) – says Alberto Lapini, National President of SIUrO – has become most common in the male population of almost all Western countries. And, at the same time, the number of reported cases in Italy has increased due to the greater probability of diagnosis. Today, prostate cancer can be cured thanks to an increasingly rich therapeutic background and the results in terms of survival are remarkable. However, some problems remain.”

90% of patients show changes at the psycho-physical level: the disease has serious repercussions at the uro-andrological level. THE21% of patients declare having experienced an impotence deficit; 19% incontinence problems and 11% infertility. There are also other side effects of some importance resulting from the treatment: hair loss, gastrointestinal disturbances, pain, asthenia and depression. Side effects that specialists define as transient compared to treatments capable of ensuring a good quality of life.

“Prostate cancer is a fairly complex pathology – echoes Sergio Bracarda, President of Incoming SIUrO – but now we are able to identify, with precision, different bio-information and we can learn more about the different clinical conditions brought to the observation of the doctor: localized disease, locally advanced or metastatic. To date, we have five treatments that increase survival in advanced cases and more drugs for advanced cancers are emerging.”

In terms of radiotherapy, the survey shows that one patient in four uses it. Technological and scientific innovation allows specific and selective procedures. “Only cancer cells – explains Rolando D’Angelillo, professor of radiotherapy at Tor Vergata University in Rome – are actually destroyed by radiation.”

Marco Valeriani

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