The war in Ukraine has had a terrible physical and psychological toll. Nonetheless, there are heroes galore. Today, we look at physicians as cancer heroes during the Ukraine war.
To the Rescue: Physicians as Cancer Heroes During the Ukraine War
For this post, we turn to Kate Tsurkan in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, writing for the Guardian:
Ukraine’s leading cancer hospital kept going despite losing medics to combat. Patients with no homes to return to. And vital drugs running low. On February 24, life changed irrevocably for everyone in Ukraine that day.
Yet, the National Cancer Institute’s oncologists knew they still had a job to do. They soon had to operate not only as the leading center in the country for patients in need of lifesaving cancer treatment, but a refuge from the Russian army’s murderous path. For those unable to return to their own homes or cities – Mariupol, Kherson, and towns near Kyiv were either under bombardment or occupation – the institute was the only place where they could stay.
Founded in 1920, the National Cancer Institute is one of the oldest and most respected medical institutions in Ukraine. The exterior of its main buildings, which date back to the 1960s and 70s. Prior to the invasion, doctors here had access to operating rooms unparalleled in Ukraine. And annually treated more than 25,000 cancer patients and performed 8,000 surgeries.
Now, more than two months into the war, 85% of staff have resumed work in Kyiv. Many even moved into the Institute’s premises themselves. “It’s actually been very convenient. You practice medicine, hold online conferences with doctors from other countries, and analyze the professional situation in oncology. As a result, you’re less distracted, nervous, or in a hurry.”
Volunteers at the Institute also set up a 24/7 hotline that offers psychological help to cancer patients faced with the added trauma of dealing with serious medical issues during wartime. Only radiation therapy has not fully resumed operations.
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