“Along with the Cancer Treatment, it is Necessary to Fight against the Stereotypes in Armenia”
To fight against the spread of cancer efficiently in Armenia, it is necessary to raise public awareness about the available treatment options and preventative measures. David Zohrabyan, Oncologist / Chemotherapist, said this during the press conference entitled "Cancer Dissemination in Armenia: Treatment and Prevention Measures" organized before the International Day against Cancer at Media Center on February 3.

“To reduce the number of tumor patients, it should be prevented first, that is, people should be examined early. For example, breast cancer is in the first place among women in Armenia, followed by cervical cancer but it is not among the top 10 cancer types in the developed countries due to early examination," David Zohrabyan said who represents Chemotherapy Clinic and Muratsan University hospital. He noted that raising awareness among people also aims to break stereotypes.  

“Often when people find out that they are diagnosed with cancer, they perceive the news as a sentence and get distressed. Many people do not have the information that some people are cured of cancer. There are cases when after the diagnosis, they do not start treatment because they do not want the others to know about their disease, so on,” Zohrabyan said.

Eva Asribabayan, Psychologist of Psychosocial Program at Chemotherapy Clinic, Director of the Armenian  Association Psycho-oncology, very often people do not know what to do after being diagnosed with cancer. "Cooperation between the medical system, the patient, and his family is very important. This is a complete team, whose goal is to fight against cancer," the speaker said, highlighting the importance of the psychological work with cancer patients. "We have a good psychological education in the medical system but we do not have psycho-oncological or palliative education. First of all, we need education and training. We do not have state programs, so the service of a psychologist is not mandatory,” Eva Asribabayan said, informing that the psychological service is already invested at Muratsan University Hospital due to the initiative of doctors.  

Galina Stepanyan, Representative of the Armenian Association of Hematology and Oncology, presented Cancer.am website who is Editor of the above-mentioned website. “This is a platform where one can find the complete information about cancer in a moderate language. It was founded by the efforts of the US Embassy and the US Alumni Association. The information on the site is edited by oncologists and doctors. Not only information about the disease, the treatment opportunities are posted on the website but there is blogs section where interviews with the survivors are posted. This is very important as people who are diagnosed with cancer, can read these interviews, get inspired by each story which is a difficult path. Cancer is not a sentence because miracles happen and it can be cured,” the speaker said.

The advice of doctors can also be found on the website that in the case of cancer self-treatment is unacceptable. “This is a very complicated topic in Armenia. For example, sometimes people are trying to treat cancer with soda,” Stepanyan said.

David Zohrabyan touched upon the problem of anesthesia of cancer patients at the end of the press conference. “When incurable patients have horrible pain at the end of life they are in need of anesthetic drugs, I mean narcotic analgesics. Only morphine intravenous pain killing is registered and allowed in Armenia. It is an adopted practice in the developed countries that morphine in the form of pills or morphine in the form of plasters is used. It is not the case in Armenia, and since it is considered a drug, so it is under control and is applied seldom. And this is too bad because this approach only affects the patients,” Zohrabyan said. 

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arshaluismghdesyan@pjc.am.

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