CANCER MAY CONTROL YOUR BODY FOR A WHILE, BUT ΝΟΤ YOUR SOUL…

We dreamed it, we organized it and we finally accomplished it!

Kapa3, always thinking and implementing actions whose main priority and beneficiaries are the patients with cancer, overcoming barriers, social, economic, and social and cultural characteristics! Cancer has no gender, no country, no color, no religion!!!

The team of Kapa3 could not ignore the challenges and needs of people who are forced to leave their countries of origin and, having the problems of their disease out of their priorities, put themselves in danger, crossing the borders of our country, hoping for a better and safer future.

Thus, studying the needs of these people, the group of professionals of KAPA3, being active and present in the wider region of Macedonia and Thrace, submitted a proposal for the implementation of actions in these areas, targeting the refugees and migrants of the region.

With great pleasure, we received the response of the King Baudouin Foundation, which recognized in this proposal our vision and approved funding to support and develop the Cancer Patient Guidance Centre-Kapa3, to provide immediate assistance to refugees and migrants crossing the borders of our country.

Together we can achieve the impossible! Looking cancer in the eye and fighting every day together, is a small but important battle for life, against cancer!

More specifically: The development of the existing network, the addition of mental health professionals, and the development of actions and activities in new places, with new partners, will allow us to help much more in the process of better and more complete treatment of the incidents and difficulties we face.

With funding from the King Baudouin Foundation, over the next 6 months, we will strengthen our network of psychologists, sociologists, and social workers, with a focus on the 15-24 age group, to continue providing primary care and support throughout their treatment. Part of the funding will be used to translate the Kapa3 online portal into at least two languages, in addition to English, with Ukrainian being the first, so that our citizen’s accessibility to any portal of the Public Health System is immediate and seamless.

The Organization has a website and an app where it provides general support and information as well as personalized support to each beneficiary. The staffing of the network with permanent personnel will become the basis for the successful targeting, which is, No One Feels Alone! The activation of psychological support for patients, the categorization of patients by age and the activation of actions to solve additional problems related to each of these age groups are some of the actions that we are ready to take to support these vulnerable groups!

We are well aware that the Greek health system and the support of medical care for cancer patients provided mainly in the country’s public hospitals, given high care costs and economic conditions, are not chosen by a significant number of patients, mainly immigrants, and refugees. The fact that Kapa3 operates in the structures and departments of hospitals that exclusively support cancer patients allows us to be able to record cases and extract qualitative and quantitative data and results to improve and create new actions in this direction.

Our vision has inspired and found support beyond borders! Cancer can control the body of patients for a while, but the soul, which strengthens the power in the battle with cancer, cannot be controlled!!!

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A Difficult Duo: cancer and mental health

MOST PEOPLE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER experience some level of anxiety and grief. However, with an estimated one in five U.S. adults living with a mental illness, many people with cancer will also have preexisting mental health conditions.

People living with conditions such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disease often take drugs like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants or antipsychotics. They may regularly see a psychiatrist or counselor. Thus, the mere thought of more doctors’ appointments and cancer treatments that might interact with their current drug regimen can be a significant source of stress.

By being completely honest and forthcoming with oncology providers, people who have mental health issues and cancer can get help to manage both health conditions.

The following tips can help to set a foundation for support:

1) Expect that news of your cancer diagnosis and necessary treatments could exacerbate preexisting mental health issues. You may feel more depressed or anxious than your baseline. While this can be part of normal adjustment, speak up if your symptoms interfere with your ability to function or to adhere to your cancer treatment regimen.

2) Ask to connect with your hospital’s behavioral health or oncology social work professional at the start of your treatment or as soon as possible. It can help to have someone who can help you process the experience. That person, with your permission, can also communicate regularly with your psychiatrist or counselor, if needed.

3) Tell your oncologist if you are taking medications for your mental health condition. If your medication list is complex, ask for a referral to a psychiatrist who is trained in psycho-oncology and is well versed in potential interactions between cancer drugs and mental health drugs. Many cancer centers have staff with this expertise; others can refer you to someone in the community.

4) Some cancer drugs interact with psychiatric medications and vice versa. For example, many women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer are prescribed a type of hormone therapy called tamoxifen, which reduces the chance of cancer coming back after treatment. However, some antidepressants, such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine), can inhibit an enzyme that is broken down by tamoxifen, which would make treatment less effective. You may need to switch to a different antidepressant or cancer drug.

5) Fatigue is a frequent companion of both depression and cancer treatment. Psychiatrists can prescribe drugs that are safe to use during treatment and can increase energy.

6) Enlist the help of your existing mental health support community and explore additional resources to ease the months of cancer treatment. If you have been attending a support group or day program, try to keep going to meetings. If you are already receiving mental health support, continue your relationship with your therapist, who should also speak occasionally with someone on your cancer care team.

7) Keep in mind how much you’ve already overcome as you approach this new challenge. Rely on the tools you’ve learned along the way and be open to asking for help. 

A Difficult Duo

Empowering patients through medical technologies for a healthier future

By constantly investing in existing and future technologies, the medical technology sector contributes to a healthier Europe. The 2023 MedTech Forum looked at some key trends in legislation and business and the role that EU policymakers can play to bring medical innovations to patients in a timely manner.

Europe takes great pride in its robust social security systems and the fundamental principles of equitable healthcare access. Data indicates however that significant efforts are still required to ensure that all patients across the continent enjoy top-tier quality care and unfettered access to medical services and technologies.

Medical technologies empower early diagnoses, timely interventions, and remarkable outcomes. Medical technologies mend, revive, and improve body functions, while telemedicine and connected devices bring patient monitoring to new frontiers. Innovations speed up recovery, safeguard well-being, and equip healthcare workers with vital insights for optimal decisions and fewer complications. By relieving strain on healthcare systems, fostering social and economic vitality, averting complications, and advancing efficiency through cutting-edge data and machine learning, medical technologies are high-tech, high-value game-changers in healthcare. Diagnostic technologies also act as a first line of defence against disease outbreaks and help support their management.

Because of its innovation power, and its positive impact on patients, healthcare professionals, and health systems, the medical technology sector has developed into a key industry with an important economic and societal impact in Europe.

European leadership for the benefit of patients 

Europe’s 34,000 medical technology companies invest heavily in improving existing and innovating breakthrough technologies for the benefit of patients. These companies, 95% of which are SMEs, drive economic growth, provide employment in Europe, and boost EU exports. In doing so, the sector adheres to strict regulatory standards that ensure safe devices which live up to their performance claims. Patient health and well-being in mind, no other region in the world sets such high standards to guarantee that medical technologies are safe for patients and healthcare professionals to use.

Despite Europe’s fundamental strengths in health and medical solutions, there are growing indicationsthat new and existing products will struggle to reach European patients and health systems in a timely manner: 17% of today’s in vitro diagnostics are expected to be discontinued in Europe, particularly among SMEs and approximately 50% of medical device manufacturers are deprioritising the EU market (or will do so) as the geography of choice for first regulatory clearance of their new devices.

MedTech Europe, the leading European medical technology trade association, believes that there are persistent, system-level issues within the European regulations for medical technologies which lead to unpredictability and delays, dampen innovation, and undermine confidence in the long-term viability of the regulatory framework.

To remain a global leader in medical technologies, the EU must deliver a more patient-centred and innovation-friendly regulatory framework that addresses the system-level challenges of today while preparing for the opportunities of tomorrow.

Getting through the maze 

Beyond the medical technology industry’s sector-specific developments, fundamental changes have been brought about in the last decade by the mega trends of digitalisation and sustainability. Such trends contribute to a revolution in the way innovation in medical technologies is happening, driving the need for a more forward-looking regulatory mentality to allow innovation to thrive.

Legislative activity of the EU in this area has been, rightly, immense – and much more needs to be done to ensure that all the rules-in-development which will impact medical technologies will actually work together to deliver products to patients. The EU’s Digital Strategy, driving regulation on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data, including the European Health Data Space and the European Green Deal will legislate tectonic changes, including in the area of product design, are coming with a substantial set of new or updated requirements for medical technologies.

Against this background, substantial legislations are also being revised, such as the ones on Product Liability and Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. It is paramount to include principles that ensure patients across the EU can benefit from a high level of protection and businesses are provided with legal certainty.

These new rules will significantly impact the way and speed in which technologies can be brought to market and accessed by those who need them. Getting medical technology innovations to European patients and healthcare systems in fact can often feel like navigating a complex and ever-shifting maze.

As a result, whether for R&D investment, clinical research, manufacturing or new product launches, Europe slowly losing ground to other geographies on innovation, because the maze seems to be getting harder to navigate. The EU thus has a big task ahead to further its efforts towards driving harmonisation and creating an environment of legal certainty for businesses.

The slowly approaching end of the EU legislative cycle is a unique opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and what is still to be done. It is not a time to rush to the finish line but to stay level-headed and look for effective solutions to ensure medical technologies reach patients on time. We need to solve existing challenges in a comprehensive, sustainable manner, setting the tone for a future environment that will allow patients to continue benefiting from first-line, quality medical technologies and more equitable access to healthcare, and health systems to build the long-term resilience they need. The medical technology industry in Europe stands ready to contribute and collaborate to make this a reality.

This article was produced in partnership with Medtech Europe. MedTech Europe is the European trade association for the medical technology industry including diagnostics, medical devices and digital health.

https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/news/article/empowering-patients-through-medical-technologies-for-a-healthier-future

How A.I. Could Help Medical Professionals Spend Less Time on Admin Work and More Time on Care

Some entrepreneurs are betting that generative A.I. tech like ChatGPT can provide a solution to the medical industry’s burnout crisis.

A survey of 1,000 Americans and 500 health care professionals conducted by Tebra–an all-in-one digital platform used by medical providers to manage their practices–showed that one in 10 providers is currently using A.I., while 50 percent of surveyed respondents signaled an intention to adopt the tech in the future, particularly in use cases involving data entry, appointment scheduling, and medical research.

Luke Kervin, Tebra’s founder, says that if A.I. can help providers to stave off burnout by increasing efficiency, saving costs, and allowing them to spend less time on admin work and more time helping people, it will likely see mass adoption by the industry. “When we talk to our providers about what keeps them up at night, it’s always burnout,” adds Kervin, “and a lot of that burnout comes from having so much admin work to do.”

Ironically, the advent of electronic medical records (EMRs) was meant to help physicians save time that had previously been spent maintaining analog health charts, but some practitioners are now spending an increasing amount of time behind the computer. Indeed, a 2017 study published in the Annals of Family Medicine found that in an 11.4-hour workday, physicians spent an average of nearly six hours on tasks related to administrative tasks, like data entry and inbox management, which contributed to their burnout.
Some solutions are already available, such as from Microsoft-owned A.I. business solutions provider Nuance. According to a case study, physicians at the Nebraska Medicine health system were frustrated with the time and effort required to complete patient notes, so Nuance provided an A.I.-powered voice recognition solution, allowing providers to fill out notes using just their voice. The change was a success, with 94.2 percent of surveyed physicians saying that the tech helped them to save time and do their job better.

Another company working on A.I.-powered solutions for both providers and patients is New York-based mental health employee benefits company Spring Health, which has raised nearly $400 million and attained a $2.5 billion valuation since its 2016 founding. Once a client has signed up for the service, they fill out a short assessment containing a series of questions about both their medical history and the current state of their mental health. The company’s machine-learning algorithm then crafts a personalized care plan that includes both wellness recommendations like daily routines, and specific recommendations for nearby mental health care providers.

Spring Health co-founder Adam Chekroud says that they’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of how automation could improve business for health care providers, adding that the company recently rolled out a new functionality that enables providers to “translate” their shorthand notes from patient meetings into full sentences with the use of a large language learning model.

Chekroud is also excited about the possibility of integrating chatbots as a way of helping people find providers who are a perfect fit for them, and described one prototype in development. “Our chatbot could ask, ‘Is there anything you want us to know that would help us find you a provider?’” According to Chekroud, the patient could answer with something like, “I’m very religious and I want a provider who could do faith-based treatment” or “I’m going through some gender identity issues and I want to have a provider that understands that.” The chatbot would then scan through the Spring Health network to surface providers with those desired traits.

A small number of providers are even beginning to use A.I. to help them make diagnoses by using tools such as Med-PaLM, Google’s large language model for medical information. But when it comes to using chatbots as virtual therapists, Chekroud is much less convinced. He concedes that generative A.I. is surprisingly capable of imitating empathy, “but we still have this fundamental problem that you’re talking to a robot. A robot can’t know what you’re going through. Nothing can replace that human connection.”

Πηγή: inc.com

Depression Is Often Overlooked in Cancer Patients

When Carly Flumer was a teenager, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She saw a psychiatrist and a therapist regularly, and got medication and counseling. She managed her mental health well for over a decade. But in January 2017, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of thyroid cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes by the time it was diagnosed.

That’s when things got complicated again.

Flumer, then 27, underwent surgery to remove her thyroid. She also received intensive radiation. To all observers, she got a clean bill of health — at least with regard to her cancer. But, she says, her mental health had suffered.

“People absolutely do not understand the panic a cancer diagnosis can cause,” Flumer says. “My depression and anxiety got worse when I got diagnosed. I also have had more suicidal thoughts because of the cancer,” she says. “The side effects of treatment are real. So is the stress of waiting to see if the cancer comes back again.”

The Economics of Health for All and the Transformative Power of the Arts

In the first-ever report of its kind, the WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All has outlined a bold new path to reorient economies to deliver what matters – health for all.

The Council has put forward a bold new narrative grounded in new economic wisdom to reorient economies to deliver health for all across four interrelated themes:

  1. Value – valuing and measuring what matters through new economic metrics;
  2. Finance – how to finance health for all as a long-term investment, not a short-term cost;
  3. Innovation – how to advance health innovation for the common good;
  4. Capacity – how to strengthen dynamic public sector capacity to achieve health for all.

Meet the new WHO Goodwill Ambassadors for Arts and Health

The appointments of Fleming and Yende underscore the profound link between arts and health. Engagement in creative activities, such as music, art, and dance, positively impacts physical, mental health, social well-being, and overall quality of life.

Through their roles as Goodwill Ambassadors, Fleming and Yende will promote the integration of arts into healthcare systems, advocate for access to creative arts therapies, and champion the importance of artistic expression in improving health outcomes globally.

Health for All Film Festival

A shortlist of 93 films has been selected for the 4th Health for All Film Festival out of more than 780 entries received.

Watch the shortlisted films here. Winners will be announced on 6 June.

Key highlights from the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly

As the world faces ongoing health and humanitarian emergencies, the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly focuses on driving forward health for all. This year’s session of the World Health Assembly determines the immediate and longer-term future of WHO, starting with the program budget for the next two years, key decisions about the sustainable financing of the Organization and changes put in place to improve WHO’s processes and accountability. Delegates also deliberate about the critical role that WHO has in the Global Health Emergency Architecture.
Read more :

World Health Organization

3 Ancient Greek Words That Will Help You Lead a Happy, Successful Modern Life

Having lived in Cyprus for the last decade, I’ve invested an incredible amount of time into learning to speak Greek–with, I am sad to report, only modest success. All those hours conjugating verbs and wondering why one language could possibly need 12 versions of “the” definitely helps me communicate with friends, family, and supermarket checkout clerks. But I sometimes wonder, given there are only 12 million Greek speakers in the world and the fact that I have a business to run, was this really the best use of so much of my energy and time?

Linguists and psychologists insist that learning foreign terms broadens the array of words we can use to describe the world around us and our reactions to it. Which isn’t just handy for communication. Being able to more accurately describe your feelings and experiences actually helps you understand and control your emotions. A richer vocabulary leads to more emotional and practical smarts.

“Emotional granularity [aka having the exact right term for a feeling] helps your brain figure out when to act … and what to do,” neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett explains. So which ancient Greek terms help us pinpoint and respond to important aspects of modern life? Classical Wisdom lists a dozen, but three struck me as particularly useful.

1. Eudaimonia 

In English we lean heavily on the word “happiness” when we want to convey an overall sense of contentment. But psychologists say the word is problematic; there are several different types of happiness. There is the momentary joy of pleasant sensations–the kind of happiness you get from eating a slice of cake. And then there is the overall feeling of accomplishment that comes from a life well lived, which researchers–if not laypeople–generally distinguish by using the term “life satisfaction.”

As Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman has pointed out, these two types of happiness are often in tension. You need to give up a lot of cake and leisurely days to experience the broader life satisfaction that comes from completing your first marathon or building a successful business.

This might be a distinction everyday English struggles to express, but ancient Greek provided a word to convey the larger sense of overall life satisfaction. “Eudaimonia is regularly translated as happiness or welfare; however, ‘human flourishing or prosperity’ and ‘blessedness’ have been proposed as more accurate translations. In Aristotle’s works, eudaimonia was used as the term for the highest human good,” explains Classical Wisdom.

Having a word that conveys the idea of this higher happiness — the sum total of a life well lived and the peace and satisfaction it brings — and reminds us of the sacrifices it generally takes to achieve could help us all navigate the complex tradeoffs of modern life.

2. Arete 

Arete in its basic sense, means ‘excellence of any kind.’ The term may also mean ‘moral virtue.’ In its earliest appearance in Greek, this notion of excellence was ultimately bound up with the notion of the fulfillment of purpose or function: the act of living up to one’s full potential,” explains Classical Wisdom.

Why might this be a useful word to know even if you’re not planning to translate Homer anytime soon? People throughout the ages have wondered what to chase in life. Many today strive to be “successful.” But how do you measure success? Usually by looking at whether you’re doing better than your neighbor or work rival. And there is always someone with a bigger bank balance or fancier title than you. You can never get off the treadmill, and the constant running makes a lot of people miserable.

So how about chasing arete instead? Aiming for excellence and making the most of your talents, is a more surefire route to outer impact and inner peace than chasing success.

3. Aidos 

I don’t think I’m going to have to say a lot to convince you that aidos is a concept the modern world is in desperate need of.

Aidos is “that feeling of reverence or shame which restrains men and women from wrong. It also encompassed the emotion that a rich person might feel in the presence of the impoverished, that their disparity of wealth, whether a matter of luck or merit, was ultimately undeserved. Ancient and Christian humility have some common points, they are both the rejection of egotism and self-centeredness, arrogance and excessive pride, and is a recognition of human limitations. Aristotle defined it as a middle ground between vanity and cowardice,” says Classical Wisdom.

Less ego and a greater appreciation for the role of luck in success would make for a more pleasant and compassionate society. But even if you’re not interested in a kinder world (and you really should be), intellectual humility helps you learn faster, listen better, and be smarter. Aidos, which encompasses both the precariousness of good fortune and the possibility of error, is a quality that’s in conspiculously short supply in our divided society.

If you’re fascinated by these ancient Greek concepts and how they illuminate modern life, check out Classical Wisdom for many more.

https://eefam.gr/3-ancient-greek-words-that-will-help-you-lead-a-happy-successful-modern-life/?idU=1&utm_source=newsletter_1460&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=

Πηγή: inc.com

The importance of social support for cancer patients on the path to treatment.

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event for individuals to the point that it makes them feel anxious along with fear and a diminished sense of control over life.

Coping with the physical, emotional and psychological challenges of cancer can be incredibly difficult, which is why social support plays a key role in the journey to treatment for cancer patients. Social support encompasses a wide range of resources, including emotional, informational, tangible and practical support, and can come from a variety of sources, including family, friends, healthcare providers, support groups and communities.

Emotional support is the fundamental component of social support for cancer patients, as coping with cancer can cause immense emotional distress, such as fear, grief, anger and anxiety.

Where do we want to go? Can knowledge from inclusion with one another be the solution to alleviate psychological distress?

Having a support system can provide cancer patients with a safe space to express their feelings, be heard and receive understanding through empathy. Emotional support can help relieve the psychological burden of cancer, reduce stress and improve mental health outcomes. Studies have shown that cancer patients who receive emotional support from loved ones or participate in support groups experience lower levels of anxiety and depression and have improved quality of life.

Valid information: knowing where we are going.

Informational support is another critical aspect of social support for cancer patients. Understanding the complexities of cancer, treatment options and the healthcare system in general can be an important knowledge tool in order for the patient to know where they are going and what they need to “build” psychologically to cope with the difficult stage of treatment.

Also, access to accurate and reliable information can empower cancer patients to make informed decisions about their treatment plans, manage side effects and engage in self-care practices. Healthcare providers, cancer support organisations and authoritative online resources can provide valuable informational support to patients and their caregivers, enabling them to better cope with the challenges of cancer.

Lean on me.

Social support can take many different forms. One of these is tangible support, which includes help with practical tasks, making it essential for cancer patients. Cancer treatments can be physically demanding and exhausting. Support such as transport to appointments, meal preparation and household chores can significantly ease the burden on patients and their carers, allowing them to focus on their treatment and recovery. Friends, family and community organizations can provide essential support that helps patients manage their daily activities and maintain a sense of normalcy during a difficult time.

I change you the moment you change me.

Social support also plays a critical role in improving treatment outcomes for cancer patients. Research has shown that patients with strong social support systems tend to have better adherence and commitment to treatment plans, better physical recovery and a reduced risk of complications. Social support can also have a positive impact on cancer patients’ immune systems, reduce inflammation and enhance overall physiological function, contributing to better treatment outcomes. In addition, social support can provide cancer patients with a sense of hope, motivation and purpose, which can enhance resilience and coping skills, ultimately improving their ability to manage the challenges of cancer.

We are together and we are moving forward.

In addition to the emotional, informational, tangible and treatment-related benefits, social support can also create a sense of community for cancer patients. Joining support groups, connecting with others who have similar experiences and participating in cancer-related events can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation. Social support can also enhance a sense of inclusion and normalisation as patients realise that they are not alone in their journey and can draw strength from others who have successfully gone through similar challenges (“I went through this stage too and now I am here for you”). Building social connections and meaningful relationships can provide cancer patients with a sense of purpose, social engagement and improved overall wellbeing.

It is important to note that social support is not a one-size-fits-all approach and may vary according to individual preferences, cultural norms and personal circumstances (closed and open social). Some patients may prefer more private forms of support, while others may find comfort in larger support groups. The type and amount of social support required may also change during the cancer course and it is important that patients’ choices and boundaries are respected.

In closing, I would say that sometimes, if possible, it is good to let go, not to be afraid of what we have to say (let us judge and be judged under the umbrella of a healthy process) and let the environment decide what stays and goes from a discussion about the concern raised in each case. This leads us to the choice of the most appropriate behaviour.

Inclusion brings feedback and then eventual revision.

**Please note that it is always recommended to consult multiple sources and to consult health professionals for individualized medical advice.**

For useful information – resources: