The Medical Oncology Unit of Parma was established in the 1976 by Prof Giorgio Cocconi. From 2000 to 2002 the director was Prof Stefano Cascinu and from 2004 to now Dr Andrea Ardizzoni.
The Medical Oncology Unit is located in two separate buildings. On the first, at ground floor, there is the Day Hospital; on the second building, on the seventh floor, the Oncology Ward. The Day Hospital is made up of five rooms with one to three beds with a total of twelve. There are another three rooms with three armchairs with a total of nine. The Oncology Ward is made of 11 rooms with 20 beds; 4 beds in 4 separated rooms are kept for isolation. In each area there are separate Nursing Staff: about 15 Nurses and Health Care Assistants work in the Day Hospital and between 15 Nurses and Health Care Assistants work on the Oncology Ward. The Medical Staff is composed of 16 Medical Oncology Consultants and 6 Medical Oncology Residents. There is also one Psychologists working in our Department. If needed, a Welfare Worker and a Spiritual Assistant are available in the Oncology Ward and Day Hospital.
In our department the Medical Oncology Consultants and Residents are subdivided into groups, each dedicated to the main cancer diseases: Thoracic, Breast, Gastro-Intestinal, Genitourinary, Head and Neck, Melanoma and Central Nervous System group. Weekly multidisciplinary meetings are held to discuss clinical cases, management meeting and Journal Club are regularly planned. Clinical research is one of the interest and objectives of our Unit, which is a recruiting center for several national and international, sponsored and spontaneous clinical trials. Seminars and Meetings are periodically organized in our Unit, also in collaboration with other cancer centers.
Palliative and supportive care
Our Unit realizes the integration with palliative care in several ways. First, in the Oncology Ward, there are some beds (median six beds) reserved to advanced or terminally ill patients requiring palliative care. The rooms are single or double and organized in order to offer both patients and caregivers a comfortable place, allowing the patient’s relatives to stay all day and night with the patients in privacy. In the Day Hospital there is an office, named “Continuity of Care and Symptomatic Treatment Office”, with a Medical Oncology Consultant and a Resident, dedicated to unplanned visits, most of them are related to treatment side effects or disease complications and palliative care. Our Unit integrates with the Parma Territorial Palliative Care Unit, instituted in 2010, composed by four territorial Hospices, located in four districts of Parma province for a total of 54 palliative care beds. Medical Oncology Consultants help the General Practitioners and Palliative Care specialists to find the best continuing care at home and territorial Hospices, participating to periodical meetings with the community team. Our Psychologist offers psychological support to caregivers during all the phases of disease and during the grief. Finally, our Unit is affiliated to voluntary associations involved in home and hospice palliative care.