De Lorenzo (Favo): “Oncologist takes care of prevention in the acute phase and in the follow up”
“Oncology specialists, as the preferred reference of patients, have the important function of recommending all vaccinations, such as those against pneumococcus, herpes zoster, papillomavirus, as well as, of course, against Covid “. Like this Saverio Cinieri, president of the Italian Medical Oncology Association (Aiom), during the event entitled: “Vaccination of the cancer patient. New opportunities for public health“‘, today at the Ministry of Health, promoted by the scientific societies of infectious diseases (Simit), hygienists (Siti) and oncologists (Aiom) with the unconditional contribution of GSK.
“For the administration of vaccines, we believe that the oncologist should always be responsible for them, both in the acute phase of drug treatment and in the follow up”, he said. Francesco De Lorenzo, president of the Federation of voluntary associations in oncology (Honeycomb). During the debate – organized during the World Immunization Week (24-30 April) and on the eve of the 17th day of the cancer patient (12-15 May) – the question was raised of the importance of guaranteeing vaccinations to the cancer patient, both in the acute treatment phase, as well as in the follow up phase, that is, for the healed people.
“Vaccines, especially for cancer patients, are a lifesaver, starting with the one against the flu – remembers De Lorenzo -. The associations are strongly committed to supporting the imperative need to ensure secondary and tertiary prevention, too often neglected, to cancer patients, also in order to reduce the burden of neoplastic diseases for the sustainability of the national health system “.
According to the president of Favo, “for the administration of vaccines” it should always be the oncologist who takes care of them, both in the acute phase of pharmacological treatment and in the follow-up “, while”the Oncological Networks must ensure the overall care of the cancer patient through the hospital-territory connection and the full functioning of the electronic file“. As De Lorenzo recalls, “vaccination is also essential for young adults with cancer and for people free from the disease and cured in the follow-up phase, considering that very often the state of fragility remains”.
“We have learned a lot from these two years of pandemic – adds Cinieri -. The issue of vaccinations is part of our health culture and is even more strategic in the cancer patient who is particularly susceptible to infections caused by various pathogens. The immune response in these subjects – explains the oncologist – is weaker, as both chemotherapy and radiotherapy very frequently induce neutropenia and leukopenia, or a lowering of the immune defenses, respectively in neutrophils and leukocytes “.
Always on the basis of what is happening with the anti-Covid vaccination, the oncologist points out the need to maintain and strengthen preferential lanes in favor of cancer patients, especially in hospital vaccination clinicsie the importance of prevention. “Aiom – explains Cinieri – as a reference company thanks to its privileged observatory, must also be a stimulus and help to policy makers in identifying both national and local health policies in favor of the needs of thousands of families who live together with their loved ones this page of life “. The oncologist refers, in particular, to the importance of implementing not only the strategies that can help prevent the risk of cancer, but also of continuing the screening, treatment and follow-up paths, which in many cases ended with the pandemic.