but this time the cure is transformed from a patient to patient
The balding heads, the yellow faces, the lost hope aren’t only spotted in hospital corridors anymore. They are now in the next cubicle or maybe in our own homes. For years, we’ve been hearing about a friend of a friend whose mum, grandmother or father has been diagnosed with cancer. Today, we all know a dear friend or relative who is fighting the cancer battle. Cancer isn’t over represented in the elderly any longer as it’s much seen today in our age bracket. Earlier rates showed that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will eventually have some form of cancer diagnosed, lung cancer was more common in men because they smoked more, but due to the modern twist of society and tradition, cancer rates in women have rocketed to a new elevated level.
CanSurvive turns personal cancer experiences into therapies, getting them to patients pronto. It’s a registered non-government organization in which it provides cancer advocacy, resources, education and support to patients. The organization works with cancer patients and survivors, family, friends and caregivers to help boost the awareness in Egypt. “The main interest started by patients who wanted to do psychological support for patients. They make focus groups for patients and they start talking about the rights they have. We connect patients and survivors to share experiences on coping with cancer• and it’s always best when it’s done by a patient, because cancer survivors lived the hassle and they’ve been there before so their opinion counts. They tell the stories of how they’ve raised their families and how they dealt with their work so they are much more beneficial for the patient”, Dr Mohsen Mokhtar, Assistant Professor, Clinical Oncology, Cairo University President and Chairman said. “We are always keen on providing information to help patients understand their disease and know their rights”, he added.
What really makes the organization special is the ‘psychological support’ feature that they offer to patients as the founders think that psychological support is as important as the treatment itself “We have a couple of psychiatrists who are willing to treat patients. We discuss the common problems patients face such as hair loss and how to make similar issues fit in the patient’s daily living. We give them lifestyle tips such as where to find the perfect wig or how to choose a nice scarf. These small things really matter to the patient”, Dr Mohsen said.
As we all know, the best treatment for cancer is early detection, and we learned that CanSurvive provides free cancer screenings through out Egypt, “We do several screening programs but the problem is the lack of awareness in males and females on how they view the whole cancer issue. During a previous campaign, we distributed 5000 free screening vouchers among Egyptians and we found out that only few hundreds came to be tested When we give people free tests and they don’t come this indicates two things: lack of awareness and fear of the result. The fear of discovering the presence of cancer is major a problem”, Dr Mohsen complained. Dr Mohsen also thinks that the media is a powerful tool for highlighting the positive side of cancer, which is of course the fact that people could beat the disease and restart their lives in a normal way.“The more the media provokes that cancer is in curable the more people will get over the concept of when I get it I must die. There are lots of successful stories of cancer survivors that we need to shed light on”.
CanSurvive campaigns, projects and initiatives are always up and running, “In the next phase we are trying to contact several drug companies to get lower cost drugs for the patient, and more free tests around Egypt”, Dr Mohsen stated.
The Rights of the Patient:
A conference was set up in Sawy Cultural Wheel addressing the rights of the patients. Its aim was to broaden the knowledge of the Egyptian citizens regarding their health rights. This event was set up on behalf of the Egyptian Association for supporting cancer patients and the Egyptian initiative for personal rights. Dr. Alaa Ghanem, the program manager was lecturing in this event alongside Dr. Mohsen Chairman of CanSurvive and Dalia Abd-El Halim, a researcher. Our team went to cover the event bringing out the most important rights a patient must take into consideration:
Patients should be offered full privacy and their medical accounts must be confidential. In other words, it is not acceptable for a doctor to talk to anyone about their patients, or tell others what his patient is sick of. Also advertisements such as the cancer hospital ads showing sick children talking about their misery are not acceptable.
All the patients in Egypt should be offered a good quality of medical care, meaning that the doctors should not make fatal mistakes in their work. They are expected to do their work properly and perfectly from the first time.
The patients must also understand that it is their right to choose whether they want to take the medication that the doctor has prescribed for them or not.
It is the patient’s full right to complain about a doctor who has done something wrong, and any complaint must be taken into consideration.
Last but not least, if a doctor wants to carry out trials or examinations on a patient’s body, the patient must be told beforehand and must agree to this.
Some of the doctors’ duties, as mentioned in the list of the ethics of the profession:
Giving the patients information full privacy.
Respecting the health care, and being accurate in their work and treatment.
Not profiting from their work-they should not hold advertisement about themselves.
Giving medical care for those imprisoned and not using their work to harm them.
The European country that offers the patients their rights at its best is the UK, whereas the worst is Cyprus. However, if Egypt was compared with European countries the difference will be something like 70%!
For more information on the organization’s activities and campaigns check out: icansurvive.com