One of the best specialists in medical oncology, Dr. Rositsa Krasteva, is widely recognized not only in our country, but also at prestigious international forums. She heads the "Uni Hospital" Oncology Center, which offers the full cycle of care necessary in the process of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of oncology patients.
How do medical professionals and their oncological patients cope in emergency situations? Are complementary therapies required because they are in the risk group? What difficulties do they face?
Answer to these and other questions, see in the interview with Dr. Rositsa Krasteva.
Dr. Krasteva, in our preliminary conversation you shared that only yesterday you accepted 40 new patients. Are you able to adequately treat and carry out the necessary procedures for your patients?
- In the Department of Medical Oncology we have 45 beds, and in the Department of Radiotherapy - 48. Admission to the Oncology Center is planned and even now, in the conditions of emergency, this plan is followed, along with all requirements it imposes - hand disinfection, temperature measurement upon entering the hospital, use of protective equipment. I can state that the treatment and the provision of the necessary medical care is proceeding smoothly despite the emergency measures imposed.
What types of oncological diseases are the majority of your patients?
- All types of solid tumors are treated at Uni Hospital. We have patients with all localizations of malignant diseases - lung, mammary gland, ovary, etc.
What else do you have to do, given that your patients are one of the most vulnerable groups regarding this infection?
- Indeed, we are in a tense epidemiological situation, but the treatment of cancer patients should not be stopped. It is planned and we follow that plan and see our patients on schedule.
Yes, chemotherapy is an aggressive treatment, and to protect our patients from complications and infections, we take all necessary measures. We do complementary and strengthening therapies with hydration and vitamins, we explain to all patients what they can do to protect themselves in this environment, what hygiene to follow and what protective equipment to use.
Dr. Krasteva, what difficulties are you facing in this truly extraordinary situation?
- The main problem is the psychological attack by the media, which keeps the drama high and creates a sense of doom.
This is not the first epidemic that humanity has faced, it is necessary to keep calm and observe precautions. The constant instilling of fear and terror by the mass media is not helping anyone, they are spreading panic and anxiety.
It is the bad psychological consequences that represent a serious risk that has not been encountered until now. One such consequence is a change in behavior-towards more anxious, irrational, susceptible to misinformation and focused primarily on disturbing news.
We have discussed with you before, but let me ask you again - have any new treatment methods for oncological diseases appeared?
- Our center has all new therapies and innovative methods for treating malignant diseases. They are free and completely accessible. All our patients have adequate and quick access to targeted therapy, immunotherapy, radiosurgery, radiation therapy. We apply innovative methods and can offer the most modern diagnostics and treatment of oncological diseases.
We have the most modern technological equipment, apply innovative methods and can offer the most modern diagnosis and treatment of oncological diseases. The bed base of the Oncology Center is extremely good and the high material conditions that we managed to create guarantee our patients comfort and safety during their stay in the medical facility.
Please briefly recall the main manifestations of a common type of cancer - lung carcinoma?
- Let us pay attention to the fact that cancer does not always mean an incurable disease and that today it can be treated and our patients can be in complete remission. Unfortunately, cancer is a disease in which symptoms appear late. For example, with lung carcinoma, such symptoms can be cough, hemoptysis, shortness of breath, etc. Fever is not a sign of malignancy, but of an infectious disease. With complaints of high fever, shortness of breath, cough, patients should contact their oncologist for information.
What specific recommendations would you give to cancer patients in general?
- It is important for them to know that during an epidemic their treatment should not stop. Adjuvant treatment guarantees their longer life, and in advanced stage of the disease, stopping treatment can lead to progression. Patients should keep the dates of their visits to the oncologist and remember to carry out all anti-epidemic precautions.
Don't let panic and fear take over your life. Infectious diseases have always existed, there is a way to treat and overcome them. Follow the precautions and do not stop your treatment.
And last but not least, take care of your own mental comfort by focusing on good news and indulging in favorite activities.
Follow all safety precautions
“Observe all precautions “squarely”! Because if this infection penetrates into a department like ours, it will become scary", said Dr. Parashkev Tsvetkov - specialist surgeon and oncologist, manager of the Complex Oncology Center - Plovdiv, in a brief comment for our publication
"Take care of yourself and the staff who take care of you" - Dr. Tsvetkov also recommended. - I insist that we concentrate on the measures, because in the morning a lady who introduced herself from some ministry was trying to enter the courtyard of the medical institution with her car. Of course, the security didn't let her in, but the scandal was there. Therefore, I am obliged and compelled once again to make the call: Observe all precautions squarely! Respect and value the work of doctors so they can do their jobs. Be very responsible. Unforeseen situations arise every day that we need to solve quickly"