PAMEMMAZI: Cancer care - The role of a specialized dentist
The 3rd “PAMEMMAZI” Workshop on "Integrated Cancer Approaches: Research and Strategies" was organized with great success on the 22nd of February, at the American College of Greece. More than 200 scientists, nurses, psychologists, and other health professionals as well as patients, their family members and friends participated.
The conference presented the latest research, from UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, on the role of complementary supportive care programs, the therapeutic properties of art, the potential of positive psychology in psychosomatic health, the better management of illness, the best results and the improvement the quality of life.
Dr. Karen Popkin, MA, LCAT, MT-BC, (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) and Dr. Jennifer Brown Urban (Human Development, Montclair State University) and prominent Greek oncology scientists spoke and exchanged views on issues that concern the importance of integrated health care and the role of different medical specialties, such as the oncologist, the stomatologist, the psychiatrist, the nurse and the psychologist. Issues on the importance of supplementary programs, such as visual psychotherapy, music therapy, therapeutic yoga, and crafts were also discussed.
The activities of “KEFI” and "PNOI AGAPIS", both patient organizations who have been active in oncology care for many years were presented, as well as the Eyes of Light Therapeutic Photography Exhibition, the award-winning paintings of the SMOKEFREEGREECE program by the Institute of Public Health of the American College of Medicine, and the Exhibition of Visual Psychotherapy from PAMEMMAZI’s program at the "Agioi Anargyroi" Hospital. Ms. T. Katsaba chaired the meeting with great success. There was total agreement on the importance of integrated care and the offer of complementary therapies.
Dr. Ourania Nicolatou-Galitis, Oral Oncologist, participated in the 2nd Session, together with Dr. A. Tserkezoglou, Gynecologist specializing in Gynecological Oncology, Dr. Z. Kontoulis, MD, MSc, PhD, Dir. Pain Clinic, Metropolitan General, Dr. A. Papafilis, Pathologist-Oncologist, MBBS, BSc, MSc, PhD, MRCP (UK) attendant at "METAXA Hospital", Dr. D. Dikaios, Professor of Psychiatry at the First Psychiatric Clinic, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens-Eginitio Hospital and Mrs. Th.Pappa, MSc Nurse, Head of Surgery at the Department of Nursing, University of Athens, "Agioi Anargyroi Hospital".
Dr. Nicolatou-Galitis presented the role of the dentist, who specializes in Supportive Oral Oncology. In particular, she showed that oral Supportive oncology and oral health care by a specialized dentist:
- Reduce symptoms, pain, and fever during oncological treatment. The specialist dentist recognizes and diagnoses infections, other complications and cures them, in most cases, on time, or reduces the severity of the complications. https://curecancer.gr/news/post/oral-examination-is-necessary-prior-to-chemotherapy Support Care Cancer 2019.
- Improve patients' quality of life, especially if the symptoms are recorded by patients themselves, provided that their physician is always informed on time. https://curecancer.gr/news/post/patient-reported-symptoms-increased-quality-of-life Support Care Cancer 2019
- Increase the success of treatment. The patient will not have - because of symptoms - to discontinue treatment or reduce the dose of chemo or radiation therapy, as this means inadequate treatment, and subsequently reduced success. The patient lives better and longer! https://curecancer.gr/news/post/higher-overall-survival-was-observed-in-oral-cancer-patients-wit Support Care Cancer 2016
- Protect the patient from the effects of oncological treatment, later on, even years after treatment: preventing, for example, dental caries, osteoradionecrosis, trismus. The specialized dentist may also recognize a recurrence of a tumor in the mouth very early, resulting in early and timely management.
- Reduce the cost of oncological treatment (financial toxicity) - reduce the use of drugs, health services, and hospitalization needed to cope with complications. According to international scientific data, supportive care reduces the cost of oncological treatment by 33%!
Overall, supportive oral oncology helps to increase the prognosis and maintain quality of life, both related to overall health and to the quality of life associated with oral health.
Dr. Nicolatou-Galitis also talked about the Guidelines on Oral Supportive Care in Cancer:
- Before treatment - prepare the mouth and stabilize the oral disease
- During treatment - monitor, work with the oncologist, encourage the patient to maintain good oral hygiene
- After (active) treatment - evaluate the patient at regular intervals, as appropriate
Also, the contribution of digital technology to Oncology was discussed, with the aim to help patients and physicians work together, something that both need! According to a study, the online relationship of oncology patients with their doctors works as medicine. https://curecancer.gr/news/post/if-this-were-a-drug-the-price-would-be-100000
A few words about PAMEMMAZI
PAMEMMAZI (in Greek WeGoTogether) is a non-profit organization inspired by Emma Vernikou, who died of cancer in 2016, five years after being diagnosed, at the age of 24. Emma wanted to offer creative activities, within the Greek oncology hospitals, to patients and their families. PAMEMMAZI includes her name and her philosophy. Her - empathetic - cancer lifestyle has been the guide to PAMEMMAZI's goals and work.
PAMEMMAZI was founded in 2017 and launched its programs in General Oncology Hospital "Oi Agioi Anargyroi", in October 2017.
The objectives of the programs
PAMEMMAZI aims to provide psychosocial support to oncology patients and their families through creative, informative and psychotherapeutic programs through art, in beautifully decorated and pleasant environment and areas in the hospital.
In these places, patients can • relax • do exercises tailored to their needs and abilities • choose the complementary treatment they like • be informed about their mental and physical care • socialize and share experiences and thoughts • acquire new skills • be entertained • foster a sense of control and choice.
In addition, PAMEMMAZI offers activities in the clinics' rooms and in the waiting room of the daycare hospital unit.