Cyprus Mail

Oncology centre hits back at ‘fictional claims’

By Evie Andreou

The head of the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre’s radiotherapy department Dr Demetris Andreopoulos is calling on any patients who should have received radiotherapy but didn’t, to come forward and their case would be investigated.

Following an announcement by the head of the Pancyprian association for cancer patients and relatives, ELAZO, Christos Andreou that half of cancer patients diagnosed this year would not be able to receive radiotherapy, and 60 per cent would die because of this, Andreopoulos said the numbers “are fictional”.

Andreou had said that on estimate based on the health ministry’s data, around 4,300 to 4,400 new cancer cases will be diagnosed this year, and according to EU standards 65 per cent, or around 2,800 will need radiotherapy, but the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre’s three linear accelerators only have the capacity to serve around 1,400 per year.

“I believe the numbers and the message sent are incorrect. According to the data provided by the health ministry there will be an estimated 3,500 new cases, this year. But anyway how can we deny them radiotherapy if it is indicated for their treatment?” Andreopoulos told the Sunday Mail.

He added that Andreou must have based his estimates on international data that stipulate a 2.5 per cent annual increasing trend per population.

“The numbers he provided might fall within this statistic but in Cyprus we have 25 to 30 per cent fewer cancer cases than central Europe,” he said.

The oncology centre will provide radiotherapy to an estimated 1,600 patients this year, he said, and it falls within international standards that deem as acceptable radiation for 50 per cent of new cases.

Andreou alleged that cancer patients who would not be given radiotherapy at the BoC oncology centre, would be prescribed chemotherapy instead because of the commission from pharmaceutical companies to promote chemotherapy, and this was the reason why according to him no other radiotherapy centres exist in Cyprus.

“Even if a patient whose condition indicates that he or she must undergo radiotherapy and their doctors are prescribing chemotherapy instead, it is considered medical malpractice and it is the responsibility of the physician, not the centre,” Andreopoulos said.

Patients are sent to the oncology centre for treatment prescribed by their physicians. All those patients with medical cards issued by the health ministry receive treatment free of charge, while for others charges are based on the centre’s fees.

In Cyprus, he said, for cancer treatment, international guidelines are being followed that indicate three methods – surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“If any patient possesses evidence that they should have undergone radiotherapy but were prescribed a different treatment, they must report it,” he said.

As regards to the capacity of the oncology centre, Andreopoulos agreed Cyprus needed at least two more linear accelerators.

“Even though we have three, when there is demand we increase the machines’ operation time, to treat as many patients as possible,” he said.

He added that the oncology centre was accredited by European and international organisations.


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