On World Cancer Day, President George Vella took part in a digital conference organised by the National Cancer Platform.
The President explained how when patients are told that a form of cancer has been found, the patients and those around them begin to live extraordinary circumstances. Looking back on last year, the President stated that despite all the preventive measures that were taken and recommended by the Health Authorities, the virus has still badly affected vulnerable people.
The President said that for those battling cancer, this pandemic has brought many challenges, not only from a medical point of view but in particular from a psychological point of view. He explained that because of COVID-19, one of the first measures that hit cancer patients was that they could no longer have visits from their relatives and friends as was the case before. The President explained how these patients’ sense of loneliness grew, and this led many feeling that they may have been forgotten, or isolated.
The President also spoke about how the same restrictions also had an impact on those patients who needed treatment abroad, since only patients with very urgent cases were sent abroad for treatment.
In this regard, the President reminded how patients who are sent abroad for treatment, usually have everything paid for by the Maltese Government, with the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation helping by paying tickets for a relative or friend to accompany the patient and paying other food and travel bills to and from the hospital while they are abroad.
The President added that while the total cost has decreased, because fewer patients were sent abroad, those sent, per head, ended up being much more expensive because they had to spend more time abroad due to quarantine.
The President concluded by appealing to all patients to take courage, as he stated that this difficult time will pass and assured them that they have the care of the best specialists, nurses, and paramedics.