“Fight Against Cancer in Armenia. Treatment Opportunities and Current Challenges”
01.02.2017
12:00
Malignant neoplasm mortality in Armenia is 21 percent. In 2015, cancer mortality cases increased by 380 cases, compared to 2014. Diana Andreasyan, Head of the Analytical Center of National Institute of Health Information, stated this at Media Center

Davit Melik-Nubaryan, Coordinator at hospital efficiency and quality improvement component at MOH PIU, Karen Meliksetyan, Head of the Clinical Department of Adult Hematology Center after Yolyan and Head of the bone marrow transplant team, Gevorg Tamamyan, Pediatric oncologist / hematologist at Muratsan Hospital Complex of Chemotherapy Clinic, Lecturer at the Department of Oncology at Yerevan State Medical University, also participated in the discussion entitled “The Fight against Cancer in Armenia: Treatment Opportunities and Current Challenges”.Diana Andreasyan said that international research data show that malignant tumors are one of the main problems of any health systems in developing and developed countries. Deaths caused by this disease are in the second place in all the countries, including Armenia.

Diana Andreasyan said that international research data show that malignant tumors are one of the main problems of any health systems in developing and developed countries. Deaths caused by this disease are in the second place in all the countries, including Armenia.
“Comparative analyses of the last ten years clearly show that the cases of morbidity and mortality have increased around 1.9 times. Each year about 8,400 new cases are recorded. The number of patients under clinical supervision comprises 41 thousand and compared to 1990s, it has increased by about 2.3 times,” Andreasyan said.

She added that the most common is the lung cancer among men, which is about 5 times more than among women.
“This may be due to the high rate of smoking among the age group of 20 and over (about 53 percent). Prostate cancer is in the second place among men followed by liver, stomach, colorectal cancer. Breast cancer morbidity and mortality is significantly high among women followed by cervical, stomach, colorectal cancer. By the way, in recent years, stomach and colorectal cancers have considerably increased among both women and men,” Andreasyan added.As the speaker said, 57 percent of cases are found in the third and fourth stages, those are the stages when treatment quality and effectiveness and life duration are quite reduced. The finding of lung cancer on the 4th stage is 67 percent, and in the case of stomach cancer, it is 56 percent.

As the speaker said, 57 percent of cases are found in the third and fourth stages, those are the stages when treatment quality and effectiveness and life duration are quite reduced. The finding of lung cancer on the 4th stage is 67 percent, and in the case of stomach cancer, it is 56 percent.

“As for breast cancer, I have to say that in recent years there is a slight improvement in terms of early finding. That is it is found in the first and second stages and survival rates have increased, if in 2012 it was 42%, now it is 56 percent,” Andreasyan said.
Davit Melik-Nubaryan, Coordinator at hospital efficiency and quality improvement component at MOH PIU, said that the Ministry works in two directions: prevention and establishment and expansion of infrastructures.
“A significant percentage of cancers are caused by human lifestyles due to controllable risk factors. In the case of our country, they are mainly smoking, obesity and chronic untreated diseases,” Melik-Nubaryan said.
One of the primary programs of the Ministry is cervical screening and it has been 2 years that Ministry conducts screening program free of charge for the targeted group of women. Melik-Nubaryan notes that cervical cancer is rare cancer, which is possible to prevent according to numerous studies.“The second main problem is smoking, and the current vision is that tobacco taxes should be raised by reaching public consensus and anti-smoking propaganda should be intensified. International experience and research show that the most effective way is increasing the price of tobacco, it is especially important for teenagers, young people, in order they do not start smoking,” Melik-Nubaryan said, adding that the next direction of the Ministry was to create an Oncology Center of Excellence in Armenia.

“The second main problem is smoking, and the current vision is that tobacco taxes should be raised by reaching public consensus and anti-smoking propaganda should be intensified. International experience and research show that the most effective way is increasing the price of tobacco, it is especially important for teenagers, young people, in order they do not start smoking,” Melik-Nubaryan said, adding that the next direction of the Ministry was to create an Oncology Center of Excellence in Armenia.
Karen Meliksetyan said that in the center, reopened three months ago, the clinical building was equipped together with its diagnostic and functional part of the stem cell laboratory building.“The center is unique in a sense that it is equipped with all the features, which allow today to make a hematology therapeutic interventions that had not been possible to do before,” Meliksetyan said.

“The center is unique in a sense that it is equipped with all the features, which allow today to make a hematology therapeutic interventions that had not been possible to do before,” Meliksetyan said.The center is provided with modern, new equipment, new laboratory services were established, and the most important new service, which had not been in Armenia, is the division of bone marrow transplantation and stem cells laboratory.

The center is provided with modern, new equipment, new laboratory services were established, and the most important new service, which had not been in Armenia, is the division of bone marrow transplantation and stem cells laboratory.“Stem cell laboratory enables us to conduct further curing process because hematopoietic stem cells are created from the bone marrow or peripheral blood or umbilical cord which are then collected, undergo the appropriate processing, freezing and are subsequently used at the bone marrow department. The center has operated for 3 months and in February we are preparing for the first bone marrow transplantations for 4 patients,” Meliksetyan said.

“Stem cell laboratory enables us to conduct further curing process because hematopoietic stem cells are created from the bone marrow or peripheral blood or umbilical cord which are then collected, undergo the appropriate processing, freezing and are subsequently used at the bone marrow department. The center has operated for 3 months and in February we are preparing for the first bone marrow transplantations for 4 patients,” Meliksetyan said.All age groups patients can apply for hematological services at the center.

All age groups patients can apply for hematological services at the center.

"The age limit will be only for bone marrow transplantation, this is for old age group, more than 65. This process is complex and it has an age limit,” Meliksetyan adds.
Referring to pediatric oncology in Armenia, Gevorg Tamamyan said that every year, there are about 60 new cases of malignant neoplasms among children in Armenia.“In Armenia, as in most countries worldwide, Leukemia occupies the first place, brain tumors are in the second place followed by bone tumors, kidney tumors, etc. In the developed countries, in the Western countries, about 85 out of 100 sick children have the opportunity to recover completely. In Armenia, 70 out of 100 sick children have a good chance of perfect recovery in Armenia. If we compare with the African countries, where the rate is 20-25, then our situation is good, but if we compare with the developed European countries, then we still have room to improve and increase the rate of about 85,” Tamamyan said.

“In Armenia, as in most countries worldwide, Leukemia occupies the first place, brain tumors are in the second place followed by bone tumors, kidney tumors, etc. In the developed countries, in the Western countries, about 85 out of 100 sick children have the opportunity to recover completely. In Armenia, 70 out of 100 sick children have a good chance of perfect recovery in Armenia. If we compare with the African countries, where the rate is 20-25, then our situation is good, but if we compare with the developed European countries, then we still have room to improve and increase the rate of about 85,” Tamamyan said.
He notes that the main therapeutic method in pediatric oncology is chemotherapy, that is sometimes combined with radiation treatment."In some cases, surgical treatment has a major role, and the transplantation has some role if treatment does not help. The new trends in the development of medicine are the immunotherapy and targeted treatment investment in this area,” the speaker said.

"In some cases, surgical treatment has a major role, and the transplantation has some role if treatment does not help. The new trends in the development of medicine are the immunotherapy and targeted treatment investment in this area,” the speaker said.The pedia

The pediatric oncologist notes that there are patients for whom the treatment is the same like in Germany.
“For example, in the case of the primary kidney tumor, the treatment at the early stages is the same both in Armenia and in Germany. In terms of medical services, there may be differences. But there are diseases in case of which immunotherapy and other targeted treatments have a major role and the chance of treatment is 50 percent in America or in Europe and twice less in Armenia. In this case, we would advise thinking about the treatment abroad but most malignant tumors are possible to treat in Armenia today. Of course, it is expensive but there are funds which help us,” Tamamyan said.

Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
To contact the author please send an email to lilitarakelyan@pjc.am.

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