Wednesday, 08 January 2020
The University of Nicosia Medical School is pleased to announce that Ms Athena Michaelides, a student on the 6th year of the MD programme and Dr Constantina Constantinou, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology have published the following two articles:
Michaelides, A., and Constantinou, C. (2020) Integration of Psychoeducation Programmes in the Survivorship Care of Breast Cancer Patients. Journal of Cancer Policy 23, 100214.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed worldwide and the leading cause of cancer death in women. In the past years, efforts have been made to develop psychoeducation programmes targeting the prevention of breast cancer via educating the general public. These programmes placed emphasis on risk reducing behaviours and on promoting Breast Self-Examination and screening via mammography, to aid in the early identification of pathological findings. In parallel, efforts have been made to develop psychoeducation interventions to support breast cancer patients during the phases of diagnosis, management and survivorship. The current review sheds light on the need to develop psychoeducation programmes in the future that will (a) be patient centred, (b) focus on emotional support to reduce the patients’ anxiety, (c) be longitudinal to address the patients’ specific needs at the different stages of diagnosis, management and survivorship, (d) apply the most effective combination of communication methods and (e) address the needs of both cancer patients but also those of their families, friends and caregivers. The ultimate goal is to develop psychoeducation programmes that will benefit both the mental and physical health of the patients and ultimately improve their prognosis.
Michaelides A., and Constantinou, C. (2019) Breast cancer and lymphedema: a narrative review. International Journal of Medical Students 7(3), 66-72. DOI 1.5195/ijms/2019.362.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed worldwide, and the leading cause of cancer death in women. The understanding of disease presentation by patients and health care providers is crucial for a correct diagnosis and management. Preventive measures emphasize risk-reducing behaviours such as a healthy diet, reduced alcohol consumption, increased physical activity, and breastfeeding children. Screening techniques such as mammography, ultrasound, and MRI aid in early detection. Following the screening, a breast biopsy is performed, and a histopathological assessment is carried out to confirm a breast cancer diagnosis. In addition to surgery, radiotherapy, and lifestyle modifications, treatment regimens include a range of medications such as anti-hormonal drugs and chemotherapy. Lymphedema is a severe and major long-term consequence of breast cancer treatment. The major contributors to the diminished lymph drainage are a lumpectomy/mastectomy procedure that involves the surgical removal of lymph nodes, and radiotherapy. The fluid accumulation of lymphedema poses physical limitations to the patient and impacts the overall quality of life. A sentinel lymph node biopsy is an essential method of identifying the first draining lymph nodes affected by metastasis. This procedure allows surgeons to later remove only affected lymph nodes, sparing those that are unaffected and hence reduce the risk and magnitude of lymphedema development. Patients who receive education about lymphedema demonstrate higher compliance with treatment and self-care management practices. The purpose of this review is to provide information about breast cancer, the development of lymphedema, and how to recognize and manage both.