In Naples the first Italian cardiocological network

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The first cardioncology network project starts from Pascale and connects 10 hospitals. The help given by technology is fundamental to create synergy with cardiological clinics in the area and with general practitioners. The project is also open to voluntary associations and NGOs that deal with assistance to cancer patients. In this way it will be possible to increase the timeliness of intervention, a fundamental and decisive variable for the patient's health. Also for this reason, the hope is that cardioncology networks already in embryo in other regions will soon become reality in order to create a national cardioncology network.

The first Cardioncology Network project starts from Naples, connecting 10 hospitals in the Campania Region to guarantee rapid access to care and evidence-based treatment, therefore according to the guidelines, to all patients on anticancer therapy who must be followed in parallel at the cardiac level to avoid complications; the same, if not treated, are still responsible for about one third of deaths of patients in cancer patients, given this much higher than that of the general population. In this way, a further step is taken towards reducing the time required for patient care and since the time factor is a decisive variable in the cardiology field, the result will translate into a greater number of lives saved.

With this important novelty the International Congress of Cardioncology has opened in Naples: today at the National Cancer Institute Pascale Foundation the appointment is with “Cardioncology: from Research to Clinical Practice”While the conference will take place on 31 January and 1 February at the Hotel Excelsior III International Workshop on Cardioncology, VI National Congress in Cardioncology. The appointment is organized by the Co-Presidents of the two Congresses, Nicola Maurea, Director of the Complex Structure of Cardiology of the National Cancer Institute Pascale Foundation and Michelino De Laurentiis, Director of the Department of Breast Oncology with the Director General Attilio Bianchi and the Scientific Director Gerardo Botti . The important conference takes place in partnership with the most important Oncology Center in the world, the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, University of Texas.

The Cardioncology Network in Campania aims to be part of the Campania cancer network which is coordinated by the Pascale Institute. Cardioncology is in fact a relatively young discipline whose goal is to diagnose, prevent and treat any cardiovascular complications in patients who are following anticancer therapies. In fact, if the 5-year survival of cancer patients today exceeds 70%, with peaks between 90 and 100% (such as in some cases of breast and prostate cancer) and in Italy the number of survivors is approaching rapidly to 4 million - in fact they are exactly 3.460.025 in 2019 - in Campania there are about 350.000, with an increase of 24% compared to 2010 - unfortunately, the data confirm that 50% of deaths are due to oncological pathology while for 30% of cancer patients is linked to cardiovascular complications, sometimes caused by anticancer therapies. The latter data indicates that cancer patients have a considerably higher cardiovascular risk than the general population. There are various causes, but the phenomenon is certainly partly linked to the effect of some commonly used oncological therapies. Since there are so many cancer patients, it means saving thousands of human lives. Therefore, the effort to create a Campania Cardioncology Network, aimed at promptly managing these complications, assumes a fundamental socio-health value.

The Cardioncology Network of the Campania Region, coordinated by the Pascale Institute will be composed of:

  • the Coordinator of the Cardioncology Network of the Campania Region in the person of the General Director of the INT Pascale Foundation;
  • the Operational Manager of the Cardioncology Network of the Campania Region;
  • ten units for each CORPUS / CORP with documented competence and training in cardiology and oncology.

“In our region - explains Maurea  -  we intend to proceed with the detection, processing and recording of individual health data on cardioncological patients, through the use of sources of information flows from the Cardiology and Oncology Departments of the following hospitals: Pascale, AOU Federico II; AOU L. Vanvitelli; AOU Salerno (which are named in the CORPS oncology network, with assistance, research and teaching functions); Colli Hospital, Cardarelli of Naples, Sea Hospital of Naples, Rummo Hospital of Benevento, Moscati Hospital of Avellino and San Sebastiano Hospital of Caserta (called CORP). The Control Room of the Cardioncology Network of the Campania Region will meet every six months at the INT “Pascale Foundation” in Naples. To ensure the speed in the transmission of these news, telematic communication helps us with the inclusion in the digital platform of the Oncological Network of the Campania Region managed and created at Pascale.

Within the oncology network, there are Multidisciplinary Oncology Groups (GOM) that take care of the patient before, during and after the oncological treatment, depending on the type of cancer. The oncologist, the surgeon, the radiotherapist participate in the GOM as well as a long series of other specialties. The cardiologist will be inserted in order to discuss with colleagues which cardiological tests to do before, during and after the oncological treatment, and with which therapy to manage the patient.

"The stages of the cardiocological path - explains De Laurentiis - provide, after the diagnosis of the pathology, the choice of anticancer treatment. At the same time, a cardiac prevention program is expected to be implemented immediately, optimizing any therapies for existing cardiovascular diseases. This will avoid complications such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia and diabetes and much more serious heart diseases such as heart failure, myocardial infarction, arterial and venous thromboembolism, arrhythmias, ischemic heart disease".

"It is therefore essential - continues De Laurentiis that the cardiologist and oncologist are always up to date on the treatments that both prescribe to patients, as interaction with the territory, with outpatient cardiologists and general practitioners is fundamental. Together they must identify the cardiac outpatient facilities that must refer to the Cardiovascular Center of the Pascale Institute; also in this case telemedicine allows to speed up actions and resolutions that once they took much longer. By working together (cardiologists, oncologists, hospitals in the regional cardiocological network and - hopefully - a national tomorrow), we can reasonably save many human lives and improve the quality of life of most of our patients ".

 "The project is extremely inclusive - concludes Maurea - because it is also open to voluntary associations and NGOs that are dedicated to health and cancer prevention. We have tried to be more and more widespread in the area to monitor it as much as possible. It is clear that such a speech, if it were "multiplied" at the national level, would increase the survival of patients exponentially. In fact, we have many reasons to think that many bureaucratic complications can also be avoided, saving us time which is a fundamental variable for us. For this reason, since we know that other cardioncology networks are also in embryo that should soon be implemented in Piedmont and Sicily, we hope that this discourse will develop quickly throughout Italy so that we can soon think about creating a national cardioncology network ".

In Naples the first Italian cardiocological network