The Oncology Department of Luigi Sacco Hospital was founded more than 25 years ago. Since then, physicians, nurses and other professionals have been working together in the assistance of patients affected with malignancies.
Specific attention has always been given to the different aspects of care, including up-to-date knowledge of best therapeutic strategies and supportive care for symptom control, in an attempt to provide patients with the most adequate and thorough assistance.
The Cancer Center of Luigi Sacco Hospital is composed of the Oncology Ward, the Ambulatory, the Day Hospital, the Compounding Unit, the Palliative Care Unit and the Hospice.
In the ward there are 10-11 beds, two oncologists, a head nurse, six staff nurses and five health care workers.
The Ambulatory is a place dedicated to first diagnoses, decision making about treatment options, monitoring of disease and follow-up; four oncologists work here in four different rooms.
In the Day Hospital there are 11 beds and eight armchairs for patients who are undergoing anti-neoplastic or supportive treatment; these patients are assisted by two oncologists, a head nurse, five staff nurses and two health care workers. In the Compounding Unit, which is located inside the Day Hospital, a pharmacist is assisted in her work by a nurse.
The Unit of Palliative Care comprises the Home Care Assistance team, awarded with the Joint Commission Accreditation in 2009, and the Ambulatory of Palliative Care and Pain Management. The Home Care Assistance team is composed of a medical coordinator, three physicians, a nurse coordinator, three staff nurses, a healthcare worker, a psycho-oncologist and a social worker.
Oncologic patients can also have access to the Hospice, where palliative care is carried out with a multidisciplinary approach, thanks to close collaboration between doctors, nurses, the social worker, the psycho-oncologist and the chaplain.
The same multidisciplinary approach is carried out for patients assisted in the ward, the Day Hospital, the Ambulatory and in the Palliative Care Unit. A 24 hour assistance is realized thanks to a call center service carried out by the Oncologists, which allows all patients to contact a physician when uncontrolled symptoms are experienced outside of office hours.
Another component of the Cancer Center is the Research Unit, where many different professionals work together (four oncologists, a palliative care specialist, a nurse, a biostatistician, a data manager, a pharmacist and a psychologist).
Finally, a socially useful NPO (Associazione Hospitale Santa Francesca Cabrini) realizes projects to help patients and their families to cope with the disease.
Areas of specialisation
In our Department the principal solid tumors and lymphomas are treated. A particular degree of specialization has been reached over time in the treatment of breast, lung, gastrointestinal and urologic cancers.
All patients affected with advanced cancer are treated with a simultaneous approach, thanks to early involvement of Palliative Care specialists.
Palliative and supportive care
The Unit of Palliative Care is an important part of the Oncology Department: specialists in this field and oncologist work closely in the care of patients. The degree of integration between Oncology and Palliative Care varies depending on the stage of the disease and becomes more and more consistent as the cancer progresses.
Supportive Care, regarding treatment of adverse events from anti-neoplastic therapy, is provided by Oncologists, as they are well-trained in this particular field.