“The Treatment Opportunities and Obstacles of Children with Cancer in Armenia”
According to statistics, approximately 100 children are diagnosed with cancer in Armenia. Lusine Hakobyan, Oncologist / Hematologist, said this during the press conference devoted to the International Childhood Cancer Day at Media Center.

Alisa Kamalyan, Clinical psychologist, Chemotherapy Clinic, Muratsan University Hospital, Anahit Barseghyan, Founder/Director of “Bridge of Health Armenia” Foundation, Tigran Baloyan, Director of “Fond 100” Charitable Foundation, also participated in the press conference.    

“Leukemia is the most frequent among the types of childhood cancer. Other types are fewer. If transplantation is needed in the case of Leukemia, Armenia is behind and, in this case, they apply to the treatment abroad. If transplantation is not necessary, Armenia is not behind with its treatment opportunities. In addition, there are some operations, which, unfortunately, are poorly implemented and are sent abroad,” Hakobyan said.  

She notes that the prevention of childhood cancer has no specific features. “It is a healthy lifestylethat is much spoken about: healthy food, to minimize pollution as much as possible. We urge that parents areattentive, go to the doctor in the early stage, we mainly work with pediatricians.” 

The oncologist says that childhood cancer treatment is quite expensive, difficult to implement in Armenia.

“There are a number of medicines that are quite expensive but we have funds that are able to help us,” Hakobyan said.

Anahit Barseghyan said that they work with all the children with cancer and try to provide not only financial support. 

“It can also be a lack of blood, blood group that is hard to find or medicine that is not registered and is difficult to find in Armenia. We try to make everything available for sick children,” Barseghyan said.   

The fund that has been operating for already 5 years was able to support and help about 80 children with cancer.

“First when we were just opened, we applied to all the hospitals. Then doctors themselves guided the patients to us. The doctor is the first connecting link between the patient and the fund. The treatment may last for a year and if the funds do not support parents the treatment may be incomplete due to the medication for example,” Barseghyan said, adding that there is also a foundation in the United States and it helps them a lot in terms of medicine availability.

Tigran Baloyan said that their fund's objective is also to help adults and children with cancer, just the fundraising ways are different.   

“This is often done with the guidance of doctors. We are trying to attract a large mass, expecting at least 100AMD so that everyone can make a contribution regardless of their financial capacity,” Baloyan said.

Alisa Kamalyan, a Clinical psychologist at Muratsan University Hospital, said that psycho-oncology is widespread abroad.

“First steps are taken in the psycho-oncology in Armenia, we have a service for children and adults. Psychosocial support begins on the date of diagnosis to overcome all the difficulties which they face starting the moment of diagnosis,” Kamalyan said.

She emphasized that one of the important elements is the periodic assessment.

“The child is in the process of development and the disease affects the child's development. It is important to assess the child's vulnerability and resource aspects. Then we make our plan of intervention and reduce the risk factors that will affect the treatment. In our culture, there is a problem in terms of talking about the diagnosis with their children, parents often avoid, do not know how to present and explain. But children should know what is happening in their body, naturally taking into account the peculiarities of their age and consider how to explain it,” Kamalyan said.  

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

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

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