On Saturday, 20 October, held its second annual Forum entitled: Empathy in action: Ensuring quality of life in cancer patient’s trajectory. The Forum was hosted by The American College of Greece.

PAMEMMAZI is a Greece-based, registered non-profit organization which aims to improve psycho-social health of cancer patients, to destigmatize cancer, to promote empathy among health professionals and the community at large, and to highlight the need to empower patients to actively engage in their treatment, management of side effects and decision-making process for their life and care. All the above will facilitate the improvement of patients’ quality of life.

The Forum, which comprised of a round table discussion and four interactive workshops, was organized to explore and to present results demonstrating that cancer is a complex, multidimensional, evolving, and often chronic disease and that patients’ quality of life depends on a variety of factors, some of which are:

  • the collaboration of a multidisciplinary team which includes a wide range of oncology professionals, such as an oncologist, an oncology nurse, a pain management doctor, a psychologist, a social worker, a clinical dietician, a physical therapist as well as other medical professionals
  • the introduction of electronic patient records that will help patients and physicians have quick and easy access to reliable information regarding medical procedures, results and treatment regimens
  • the timely intervention of the pain management team in order to ensure efficient pain control. Medical professionals touched upon the availability of many types of pain relievers and underlined that combining pain medication with surgically invasive medical procedures, pain control and quality of life can be ensured throughout treatment
  • the need of psychologists to provide support to patients during and after treatment, in collaboration with other medical professionals.

Therapeutic Yoga and Music Therapy sessions were also held to showcase their role as complementary therapies that facilitate relaxation and help patients manage side effects caused by cancer or cancer treatment.

PAMEMMAZI brought together Greek experts in the fields of oncology, nursing, psychology, anesthesiology and clinical dietetics, from different Greek public hospitals and one private hospital, as well as a surgical oncologist from the United States of America. Exceptionally powerful were the voices of a patient and a caregiver who sat side-by-side with clinicians at the roundtable discussion and discussed a range of important factors that affect their quality of life, such as the lack of interdisciplinary collaboration between medical professionals, the need for electronic patient records, the importance of dietary instructions during treatment, and many more.

The Forum was supported by PHARMASEV LILLY A.E.B.E and took place under the auspices of the Faculty of Nursing of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Hellenic Society for the Advancement of Psychiatry and Related Sciences.