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Healthcare: First oncology centre for personalized therapy in Eastern Europe to open in Timisoara

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The first oncology centre for personalised therapy in eastern European Union will be built over the next two years at the Victor Babes Infectious Disease Hospital in Timisoara, where both lung tumours and metastatic cancer will be treated.

"We want to develop a radiosurgery system of sub-millimeter accuracy, dedicated mainly to lung cancer patients, as well as those with metastases in their brain or other organs. I say this, because around 70pct of lung cancer patients come to us in very advanced inoperable stages when all that can be done is palliative and end-of-life care. We see that the frequency of this pathology has exploded over the last years and that is why we have decided to follow radiotherapy where we can to bring extra benefits to patients from all over the country," Victor Babes Hospital Medical Director Cristian Oancea said.
According to the pulmonologist, there are more radiotherapy centres in Romania, but what will be a first in Timisoara will be technology only used in Vienna and Istanbul, the closest places in the area.

Oancea pointed out that at present there is no well-defined study on the incidence of lung cancer in Romania, but that it is a very high, even alarming one.

"This summer and last summer, because pneumonia is not frequent in summer, my colleagues and I see daily cases of even very young patients with lung cancer. We do not have data on lung cancer prevalence, but we hope to have them next year, conduct a study. We are scared ourselves of how much cancer we could see in the last few years, sometimes more often than pneumonia. Smoking is still the main cause, but there are patients who have not suffered from such addiction, but air pollution and soil pollution can lead to this pathology," said Oancea.

He drew attention to the fact that cancer is hereditary, that "tumour links" are genetically transmitted, and those with a lung cancer family history are very likely to develop lung cancer.

"Special attention should be paid to women with breast cancer or who are predisposed to developing breast cancer, because breast cancer rapidly metastasises to the lungs, a red zone treatment situation, just as lung cancer rapidly metastasises in the brain. The technology that we will use in our new centre is excellent for solid tumours, especially those developed in the lung, brain or prostate, for example, because once radiotherapy is done, the patient no longer needs surgery. Patients are spared surgery," said Oancea.

According to him, the future oncology centre of personalised therapy will target lung cancer in its early stages, but activities will extend beyond lungs. Thus, if a patient with lung cancer has brain metastases, for example, the brain will also be targeted.

"We are patterning our action to counteract pathology," added Oancea.

The pulmonologist sounded again the alarm over tobacco smoking, because if a patient has relatives with cancer, it does not matter what form, but if he or she smokes, the risk of lung cancer increases several hundred times.

The feasibility study for the design of the new oncology centre for personalised therapy has already been won by a Romanian company; it will be over in six weeks at the latest, after which the hospital will try a collaboration between the local administration and the Ministry of Health, so that its execution may start in 2020 and be completed in two years' time. The centre's specialists will be trained in Romania and abroad.



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