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How is cancer treatment in Poland???


Queenvast 2 | 11  
6 Aug 2009 /  #1
I have a friend whose father has prostate cancer. From what my friend says the Doctors seemed to be vauge on the details of his conditions and at this point says he is just slowly dying. Other than Supplements and Vitamins the only thing he is taking is Morphinem for the pain. I don't know if it's the assumption that he has no money or if it is legitimately a no hope case.

I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there with some info or insight on a simlar cituation.

Also if there are any support groups for Spouses and Familys of people with cancer or diseases in the Poznan area please let me know. Thanks to all in advance :)
tcooper913 2 | 22  
6 Aug 2009 /  #2
I cannot speak specifically regarding cancer, however, I have several overlapping auto-immune conditions. I have been in Poland 2 weeks, and had my first doctor's appointment yesterday. In the US, I was being treated with the new biologics. I was told that yes they are in Poland, but no one can get them. Polish people can't get them, so I can forget it as a US citizen. That is what I was told by the doctor. She was very kind, and genuinely concerned. She advised me to go back to the US. That is not what I want to do. Biologics require refrigeration, so I am trying to figure out how I can get them in the US, then have someone ship them to me. Some of the medications for cancer are also used in other auto-immune conditions. There is a lot of overlapping. I know of many people in the US who were treated for prostate cancer.
ukpolska  
6 Aug 2009 /  #3
Two of my wife's aunt's both had breast cancer and one had to have a mastectomy.
Both had excellent treatment and have made full recoveries.

However, you do hear of cases where the doctor has to look at the financial cost weighed against the possible outcome, and then make a judgement call.

This was evident lately in a case in my area where a six-year-old girl developed cancer and the doctors made an assessment that the cost of the treatment outweighed the likelihood of a successful outcome.

However, the parents would not accept this and fought against the decision and raised enough money to take her to Germany where it looks as if the treatment is being successful. Here is her story ---> martynakruk.pl

It is in Polish but if you put it the URL through google translate it can give you a rough idea.

The second address is an organisation which helps children with cancer in Poland and in some cases will find funding to help fight the cancer. Maybe if you write to them they will be able to give you more information and help. ---> pomagamy-dzieciom.pl

I myself have had terrible problems with cancer in my family with losing both of my cousins to cancer within the last three years, last week I lost my cousin Chris Lambird 40 with with T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma.

Both were at a relatively young age and this disgusting decease should be fought as much as possible.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
6 Aug 2009 /  #4
I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there with some info or insight on a simlar cituation.

In Western Europe/USA they give cancer patients a little newer/more expensive anti-cancer treatment. And cancer-patients there also live a little longer (on average). But there are of course cancer treatments in Poland as well.

Many cancers can be treated, some can be completely removed, it depends on the stage and progression of the cancer when discovered. If the cancer has metastasized (I don't know anything about this case) it's usually extremely difficult to remove it completely. But you can usually suppress the cancer so the patient lives a bit longer. It also depends on how much the patient is suffering (pain etc).

If the cancer has not metastasized it should absolutely be treated offensively

/ Medical student in Poland
OP Queenvast 2 | 11  
6 Aug 2009 /  #5
Thanks ukpolska I will be sure to pass the info on to my friend! Although her father is 62 Years old.

I guess what I'm confused about is that usually in america like when my grandmother had under gone treatment they attacked the cancer aggressively.

Ever since he (my friends father) was diagnosed three years ago they kind of marked him for dead. They gave him some radiation and some surgeries the first year and kind of said he should be dead in like 6 months and its been two years.

I guess im just hoping that there is something else to do some kind of hope. The man is in so much pain and is practicly bed ridden.

Agian: If there are any support groups for Spouses and Families of people with cancer or diseases in the Poznan area please let me know.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
6 Aug 2009 /  #6
You should check the details about it. Maybe he can get a better treatment than he gets now. It's impossible to know without all the information. But it sounds like the cancer is in an advanced stage, and it usually makes the prognosis rather poor.
tcooper913 2 | 22  
6 Aug 2009 /  #7
I had difficulty finding a doctor who spoke English. One out of the 12 specialists called spoke English. Her prognosis for me was very grim. With my language barrier, I can forget about a second opinion, but I can't help wondering how accurate she is. She called my son in, and told him that I was very ill, so he should get me back to the US, or else... It looks like if your friend's father were diagnosed 3 years ago, then something could have been done. I don't know what to think, and will refrain from making any generalizations.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
6 Aug 2009 /  #8
In the US, I was being treated with the new biologics. I was told that yes they are in Poland, but no one can get them. Polish people can't get them, so I can forget it as a US citizen.

Same story throughout the world. The UK is rather well known for insisting on very rigorous trials before allowing people to have new medications, for instance.

It's quite a common story for Europeans to go to the USA for experimental treatments - and also very common for them to pay a small fortune for the treatment.
tcooper913 2 | 22  
6 Aug 2009 /  #9
The one that I took was no longer an experimental drug, nor is it here in Poland. The doctor told me that none of the Polish insurance, the various ones, would pay for it because of the high cost. I am not familiar with the different programs, but like NFZ. I had insurance when I worked that paid for it. Most people would never be able to afford the prices. If you are a US resident with low income or unemployed, then the pharmaceutical companies provide them at no cost. I expected that there could be a problem here. I thought worst case I would be able to get one of the older ones through infusions, but even that was around $6K zl per month. I did not expect the doctor to insist that it's such a dire situation.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
6 Aug 2009 /  #10
The UK is rather well known for insisting on very rigorous trials before allowing people to have new medications, for instance.

Drugs are approved centrally in the EU (for all EU-countries) by EMEA. The thing is that even if a new expensive drug is approved, many hospitals/clinics outside USA choose to use them extremely restrictively. But this is because they are so expensive, not because they are not approved for use in Europe. Then after several years they get cheaper and then the use of the drug increases by several hundred percent.

In USA they often start to use the drug a lot at once because it's new and your clinic gets a great image that you provide the newest and "best" drugs. This happens even if the new drug isn't much better than the old ones. It contributes to a great image. Often there are also some contracts (hmm) with the drug industry involved.
ragtime27 1 | 146  
6 Aug 2009 /  #11
Type of treatments is not straight forward as well,if he's frail he may not able to stand the radiotherapy or chemotherapy or how advanced the Cancer is(Metastasis stage)

Financially,I don't know in Poland how health system works,but in UK we have cases where the treatment to prolong patient's life exist but the authority can't afford to provide it for free.

By the sound of it,it's more palliative(provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms) care is been provided for him.
tcooper913 2 | 22  
7 Aug 2009 /  #12
I do not understand why the pharmaceutical companies will only hand out free medication to residents in the US, and not elsewhere. I know they can't provide to the whole world free, but I did think there would be some kind of patient assistance in the EU. One of the medications that in my mind I must have is produced by a Japanese company, and it has the same restrictions for US residents only. These programs are run from the companies, and have nothing to do with insurance or governments. From what I heard in the US, I expected it to be better here than there.

In the US we have a stereotype of individual doctors forming connections with the pharmaceutical reps who push certain new medications. The medicines that have helped me the most have been around a long time, and are very cheap. I tend to be wary of new medications. I have been to doctors who do nothing but push whatever is the latest and greatest. I have tried many that just make me sicker or do nothing at all. When you find a doctor who really cares, then you stay with them. I only began using a biologic after having 5 different doctors over a span of several years telling me that it was my only hope.
inkrakow  
7 Aug 2009 /  #13
These programs are run from the companies, and have nothing to do with insurance or governments.

EU law prevents pharma companies from communicating directly to consumers and prescribing is done only by licensed and regulated doctors.
tcooper913 2 | 22  
7 Aug 2009 /  #14
The prescribing is only done by doctors, but you can apply for medication from the companies if you have no means to afford them. It is strictly regulated requiring ongoing prescriptions from doctors. Perhaps much more often than would be normally required by a doctor.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455  
7 Aug 2009 /  #15
I do not understand why the pharmaceutical companies will only hand out free medication to residents in the US, and not elsewhere. I know they can't provide to the whole world free, but I did think there would be some kind of patient assistance in the EU.

There is, and this assistance is through the national health schemes.
Myszolow 3 | 157  
9 Aug 2009 /  #16
I have a friend whose father has prostate cancer. From what my friend says the Doctors seemed to be vauge on the details of his conditions and at this point says he is just slowly dying. Other than Supplements and Vitamins the only thing he is taking is Morphinem for the pain. I don't know if it's the assumption that he has no money or if it is legitimately a no hope case.

I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there with some info or insight on a simlar cituation.

Also if there are any support groups for Spouses and Familys of people with cancer or diseases in the Poznan area please let me know. Thanks to all in advance :)

My wife's dad died of prostate cancer about 18 months ago. We moved back to Poland for 18 months to see him through. He wouldn't have coped alone. The system here is pretty poor :(

Doctors spoke to the family and not the patient (like something out of a 1960's film).

Dad was diagnosed at the stage when the cancer had already metastacised to the bones. They gave him hormone therapy and strontium radiotherapy. The strontium helped the pain and he was great for about 6 months. He had two of those. Hard to get because it's expensive, but dad had a good connection who lobbied for him.

In the end they gave him aredia (pamidronate) monthly infusion to protect the bones from breaking. Once it gets to the bones, it's only a question of time. :( But the time might be 6 months or a few years.

What we found though was that even the consultants don't always know the procedures for getting the best drugs because the rules keep changing all the time.

If you have someone strong and pushy to champion your cause, you have a chance to get the best help, otherwise it's pretty hopeless.

In the end, the doctor and nurses from the pain clinic were absolutely marvellous. If your friend is on morphine already, chances are he's already plugged into that facility, but if not, try to find out if there is one. They were an absolute Godsend for the last couple of months. (both in terms of care for him and advice for us).
OP Queenvast 2 | 11  
10 Aug 2009 /  #17
Myszolow

Thank you so Much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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