When Cancer Is Cured

New Innovations
A year has passed since the opening of Ezer Mizion’s “New Beginning Center” in Petach Tikvah, the first clinic in Israel for people who have recovered from cancer. The need to address the unique needs of the cancer survivor had been well known in the US. In depth interviews with Israel’s survivors had revealed challenges in the area of marriage and employment together with depression and post traumatic stress disorder. These studies confirmed the need for post-recovery care for the Israeli population. To meet these needs, Ezer Mizion’s New Beginnings Clinic had been founded. The mission of the clinic is to centralize all the care needed by patients, so as to ease their return to normal life and, in addition, to gather statistically valid information to help create new policies and new entities to further assist survivors.
Three hundred post-recovery cancer patients were treated over the first year of the clinic’s activity. Follow-up on these patients has shown that even after removal of the cancerous growth and after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have all concluded, many of the patients continue to complain of health problems.
“We are learning more and more about the needs of convalescing cancer patients,” says Dr. Tzachi Gur, the Center’s Medical Director and a family doctor by training. “So far, we have encountered convalescents with many and varied difficulties, some who complained of memory or attention deficits that appeared after cancer treatment. Another example is complaints by patients who had tumors unrelated to the digestive system, and who subsequently complained of changes in their intestinal functioning.”
“These phenomena may come as a result of the treatments or from an entirely different cause, yet to be confirmed. From the first stages of cancer treatment, it is crucial that the medical entity give the patients care that goes beyond the battle with the tumor itself. After recovery, no longer fighting the tumor, the cancer survivor find himself confronted with newly acquired health issues. There is a gaping vacuum in the medical world’s knowledge regarding the follow-up required among these patients. It is this vacuum that Ezer Mizion is attempting to fill.”
Dr. Gur continues, “The field of recovered cancer patients is still new and not yet established, neither in Israel nor in most countries abroad. Even in the U.S., where there are about 13,000,000 recovered patients, the field has only been recognized five or six years. But there, the medical world has at least already acknowledged the tremendous need. Here in Israel, where there are only some 300,000 recovered patients, the field is still in its beginnings.”
Indeed, recently there has been growing awareness amid the medical community in Israel of the need for comprehensive care for cancer patients post recovery. In September, Israel’s first “Cancer in the Community” conference took place. One of the subjects discussed at the conference was collaboration between oncologists and family doctors in providing follow-up care for cancer patients. At this very time, the Klalit Kupat Cholim, the first Medical Fund to have signed up on an agreement to refer patients to the Cancer Convalescent Clinic, has initiated an Information Project at the Davidoff Center for Cancer in the Rabin Medical Center, introducing the idea of having family doctors aid in medical follow-up of recovering cancer patients.
For further info: http://www.ezermizion.org


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