The Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil, (IPOLFG) was the first cancer centre in Portugal, founded in 1923. It is committed to the treatment of cancer, research and teaching in oncology. The patient is considered central to the care provided, as stated in its mission.
The IPOLFG is certified by the OECI (Organization of the European Cancer Institutes) as a Clinical Cancer Centre. It has 257 beds, an operating theatre with ambulatory surgery and offers diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine facilities, radiotherapy, pathology, medical oncology, pediatric oncology, hematology with bone marrow transplant unit and other medical and surgical specialties.
The medical oncology service is responsible for the medical treatment of cancer. It has a staff of 17 senior doctors (medical oncology specialists), 20 junior doctors (fellows in medical oncology), 35 nurses, 1 nutrition specialist, 1 psychologist, 2 social workers, 4 secretaries and 18 nurse aids.
In the staff 9 doctors, 10 nurses and one social worker have advanced education in palliative care. The department is responsible for pre and post-graduate education in medical oncology, in cooperation with the Medical School of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and has oncology fellows in training. It also participates in clinical research, mostly in medical oncology, being also a working field for research in palliative care.
The medical oncology service is specialised, among others, in head and neck, breast, digestive tract, gynecologic, germ cell, urological, skin cancer, neuroendocrine tumours and sarcoma. The patient's treatment plan is decided and coordinated through multidisciplinary team meetings, integrating all the treatment modalities available at the centre. The service is committed to a philosophy of continuity of care. Patients no longer benefiting from anti-tumour interventions continue to be followed throughout the disease trajectory.
Palliative and supportive care
The need for social support for cancer patients was recognised early, and addressed with a social service in 1927 followed by a home for cancer patients to stay in during treatments (1943). A home care team was created in 1956. A pain clinic was created in 1978 and the pediatric palliative care programme launched in 2006. The hospital palliative care team was created in 2009, and the home palliative care team was reorganised. These teams constitute the centre's specific, dedicated palliative care resources.
The palliative care programme was started in the medical oncology service, with the aim of identifying unmet palliative care needs within its patients and providing adequate care, with the cooperation of the hospital palliative care team and other hospital resources (e.g. psycho-oncology) for the more complex cases. The continuity of care in the outpatient setting has the support of local teams.