Oncology

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Ospedale San Raffaele is one of the top hospitals for cancer care in the Nation and is an active part of a global network against cancer. To us patient care is always a top priority and we offer highly-specialized and holistic approaches to our patients. Our Institution has also designation as a National Research Institute with a specific mission to promote Molecular Medicine, a tailored approach to tackle cancer in a targeted manner depending on its molecular characteristics. We believe that each patient is unique and each type of cancer is different. We commit to every patient to provide the best and most suitable treatment available.

Our doctors have a great expertise in diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, and we offer unparalleled opportunities especially in neoadiuvant treatment, molecular based therapies and immunotherapies, and combined modality approaches (treatment protocols in which chemotherapy/targeted therapies, surgery and radioterapy are used in parallel on a cancer patient). These approaches are particularly developed in breast, lung, pancreatic, genito-urinary, CNC malignancies and melanoma. We use the latest technology and the most innovative, advanced therapies to increase the chances of a cure. The close collaboration between our doctors and our clinical research scientists involved in cure of cancer patients also means that new drugs and therapies can be moved quickly to the bedside, offering patients improved treatment options. Our physicians use sophisticated technologies, such as immunotherapies and recently developed bio target oriented agents also in combination with chemotherapy, to more effectively treat cancer.

Main conditions treated

Our mission is Individualized Expert Treatment and we realize our mission through Interdisciplinary discussion of optimal therapeutic management in the context of Disease-specific Units. We have a unified approach to care: teams of doctors with different complementary specialties work together to guide each patient through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Thus the treatment plans reflect the combined expertise of many ultra specialized doctors — surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists pathologists, internal medicine specialist and cardiologist.

The active Disease Units are dealing with several hundred cases per year in the following conditions:

  • Breast
  • Central Nervous System
  • Gastro-Intestinal and Liver
  • Genito-Urinary
  • Lung
  • Melanoma
  • Pancreas and Biliary tract

In each Unit a group of Physicians is dedicated to the treatment and follow up of patients according to guidelines or to approved protocols of experimental treatment. These teams have a depth, documented and ultra specialized experience. This approach also ensures that patients who need several different therapies to treat their cancer will receive the ideal combination. Thanks to the many clinical specialties present in our hospital we are able to offer the best suitable therapy also to patients with different comorbidities that might be seen as an obstacle to cancer care.

Research

Research-oncologyInnovative strategies aimed to improve care of cancer patients are still and urgently needed in the areas of diagnosis, tumor biology knowledge, patient risk stratification and treatment. We are committed to conduct studies involved in new drugs development and we cooperate with teams of laboratory researchers with the aim of identifying molecular prognostic or predictive biomarkers in biological material. The currently ongoing projects can be summarized in developing new treatment strategies and translation the results of preclinical investigations (examples being immunotherapy, antibody-based treatments, anti-angiogenesis and anti-vascular therapies, and the use of tomotherapy in specific types of cancer).

In all these fields we have already reached relevant results. A number of new trials are opened to investigate the role the most advanced agents in cancer field in patients with breast, pancreatic carcinoma and lung cancers through usage of proteomic and new generation sequencing strategies. All this research efforts are recognized at national and international level thought routinely presentations of our research production on national and World relevant Congresses; the most relevant Journals of interest, by active involvement of our Doctors in relevant Cancer Organizations such as ASCO, ESMO and EORTC and activities determined by our national Ministry of Health.

Cancer patients’ well-being

patients' well-beingOur specially trained oncology nurses work together with doctors and are an essential part of the healthcare team. Their support, encouragement, and deep sense of caring bring tremendous comfort to our patients and their loved ones. They care for patients before, during, and after therapy; help manage clinical trials; and educate patients about what to expect when they go home from the hospital. We have a center-wide program to ensure that patients who have pain are identified and treated appropriately and effectively. Our pain experts continue the use of new drugs and novel methods of drug delivery. Specially trained psychiatrists and psychologists help cancer patients deal with the stress, anxiety, and depression that can accompany a diagnosis of cancer and its treatment.

Other specialists

  • Our radiologists use advanced imaging technology to detect cancer. In addition to MRI and CT, they offer cutting-edge imaging technologies. These include combination PET/CT imaging, which can more accurately detect cancer and pinpoint its exact location in the body.
  • Our pathologists and molecular biologist are involved in patient management right from the beginning. They analyze tumor samples to determine a precise diagnosis and the extent of disease (called staging), even if this information has been collected and reviewed at another institution. Reports from our pathologists are essential to deciding the best course of treatment. Increasingly, new technology enables our pathologists to predict a tumor’s aggressiveness or its response to certain forms of therapy, as well as to identify genetic abnormalities in some tumors, which can then direct the course and choice of treatment.
  • Our surgeons are among the most experienced cancer surgeons. They have pioneered many surgical innovations, including laparoscopic and robotic surgery for the treatment of many cancers. This type of surgery, which uses several small incisions rather than one large incision, results in less post-surgical pain and a faster recovery. They are also at the forefront of developing surgical procedures to reconstruct organs following cancer surgery and new techniques to spare organs and preserve function.
  • Our radiation oncologists pioneered intensity-modulated radiation therapy, which allows higher, more effective doses of radiation to be delivered to tumors while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissues and organs and routinely apply radiation therapy with chemotherapy, which makes tumor cells more sensitive to the effects radiation, enhancing the success of therapy.