Every cancer patient, just like each cancer cell, has their own unique characteristics which need to be analysed so that doctors can develop an optimal treatment strategy for each case. Personalised care regimens have long been applied by major cancer centres around the world to ensure that each patient benefits from an optimal care protocol which also minimises side effects and ensures quality of life, both during and after treatment. This effective approach has been put into practice at Hy Vong Cancer Care Centre, FV Hospital, for many years.
Get to the root of cancer cells and understand the pros and cons of each weapon in your cancer-fighting arsenal
Today’s approach to cancer treatment has taken new strides, giving more patients the chance to become a cancer survivor. Formerly, when a patient was diagnosed with a “type” of cancer, such as lung cancer, breast cancer, or colon cancer, the most relevant protocol for that specific type of cancer was applied. The modern approach adopted by doctors at the world’s most advanced cancer treatment centres, including Hy Vong Cancer Care Centre, focuses on pathology and biopsy to understand the root of cancer cells, and stage of development and characteristics in as much detail as possible so that the best modality can be chosen for each patient.
Dr Vo Kim Dien eases a patient’s anxiety before joining a radiotherapy session
Dr Vo Kim Dien, Deputy Head of Hy Vong Cancer Care Centre, explains that in terms of lung cancers alone, there are small cell cancers, non-small cell cancers, and then also adenocarcinomas, squamous cell, large cell and mixed adeno-squamous carcinoma. Doctors must consider genetic factors, whether the test has an EGFR mutation or not, and the stage of disease.
“The deeper you go into the origin of the cancer and detailed analysis of cancer cells, the better the chance of beating the disease, explains Dr Dien.
Developments in medical technology have given doctors real “weapons” to deploy in the war against cancer. Treatment modalities include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy—it’s common knowledge that modern cancer treatment must incorporate many specialised methods, called multi-modal therapy. However, defining which “weapon” to use first, the methodology around using it, and which dosage at various stages, requires a great deal of time and knowledge on behalf of FV’s dedicated oncologists.
The patient is always at the centre of every treatment process
Even though these factors are well understood, tailored regimens must be applied for each cancer patient. Once again, the treating physician will devote a considerable amount of time to developing every individualised regimen. Dr Basma M’Barek, Head of Hy Vong Cancer Care Centre, shared that for patients receiving chemotherapy every other day, the dose of chemotherapy or radiotherapy must be calculated according to their health, and the time to apply treatment models is also carefully considered. In addition, support from other specialties, such as nutrition, psychology, physical therapy and pain management is prophylactic during the treatment process.
A patient is consulting with Dr Basma M’Barek at Hy Vong Cancer Care Centre
“Here at the Centre, our perspective is that we’re not only treating the disease itself, but treating people that have cancer,” said Dr Basma. That is to say, the doctor’s duty is not to destroy the tumour at all costs, but also to consider that patient’s health holistically. Like a farmer trying to remove harmful insects without cutting down the whole tree, it is hard work to deploy many ways to get rid of pests while still leaving lush plants for the next season. The oncologist also needs to know the psychology, financial situation and desired outcomes of the patient before entering long-term treatment. Alongside getting better, every patient has hopes and plans for their life, and does not simply wish their body to be free of cancer while potentially racked with physical disabilities, or having to suffer from other long-term implications.
Dr Basma once advised a 24-year-old patient to preserve sperm before receiving chemotherapy. After successful treatment for rectal cancer, he got married and was able to have a perfectly healthy child. Just a small suggestion from the doctor brought him hope and peace of mind during the treatment process, and shored up his happiness for the years to come.
During many years of operation, Hy Vong Cancer Care Centre has always approached treatment in a personalised way to ensure patients benefit from dual effects in terms of health and quality of life after treatment. To implement this method well, the Centre has focused on investing heavily and methodically in facilities and equipment. More importantly, it is necessary to build a team of experienced, dedicated doctors and experts who always put the patient at the centre of all their decisions.
In 2015, FV signed a contract with Ho Chi Minh City Social Security to cover some of the cost of radiation and chemotherapy treatments at Hy Vong Cancer Care Centre, inclusive of technical costs. Through this cooperation programme, FV is helping to reduce the financial burden on patients, and create conditions for more patients to access modern treatment techniques and international-standard medical services. So far, thousands of patients have been supported, with coverage of up to 50 per cent of the total treatment cost.
To schedule an appointment for cancer consultation and treatment at FV Hospital, please contact hotline: (028) 5411 3440 or (028) 5411 3333, ext. 5000.