BEST HOSPITALS IN PAPHOS
New Oncology Unit to launch in Paphos
Meet Dr George Astras MD, MRCP, MSc (UK)
We often speak to medical specialists from St. George & Blue Cross Private Hospitals in Paphos, to find out more about their medical specialty. In this interview, Cyprus in Style speaks with the leading Oncologist, Dr George Astras, who is the director of Astras Oncology Services at the American Medical Center in Nicosia. Dr George holds his own regular clinic at the St. George and Blue Cross Hospitals in Paphos. He leads a multi-disciplinary team, who all work enthusiastically together with their patients’ best interests always at the forefront of their minds. Dr George firmly believes that no patient should fight cancer alone, and his clinic motto is, “Stronger Together”.
St. George and the Blue Cross hospitals joined forces in 2012 to create a unique and comprehensive medical facility for the Pafos region. Their combined experience, expertise and resources, together with their state-of-the-art medical equipment, means they can offer the highest standards of medical care as one of the best hospitals in Paphos. They work with many doctors across the island, who are leaders in their field. This includes over eighty doctors and a staff of over one hundred, so that the hospitals are a centre of medical excellence in Paphos.
Dr George Astras has had a lifelong interest in cancer as a Medical Oncology Consultant. Following his initial training at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in the UK, he decided that he wanted to specialise in Oncology. This was due to the fact that his family have a predisposition to the disease, and he wanted to be able to fully understand it, and make a real difference in cancer patients’ lives. As Dr George says, “Being an oncologist is my way of fighting it”.
He did his Master of Science Degree in Oncology in the UK and has participated in many Phase I, II and III oncology trials in the UK. He then spent part of his career at the world’s leading cancer hospital, The Royal Marsden Hospital in London. His specialisations include chemotherapy, targeted therapies, hormonal manipulation and other treatments in the management of cancer. His particular areas of research interest include lung cancer, breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers and soft tissue sarcomas, but Dr Astras and his team treat all cancers.
At the clinic, Dr Papadouris works with patients under the GESY scheme.
TELL US ABOUT THE BRAND NEW ONCOLOGY CENTRE WHICH IS OPENING AT ST. GEORGE & BLUE CROSS HOSPITALS.
I have worked at the hospital for many years attending my private clients in Paphos. I firmly believe that life is hard enough for cancer patients, without having to make them travel to receive their treatment. Therefore, we are looking forward to building a dedicated Oncology unit at St. George’s but at the moment it is in the early planning stages. As mentioned before, in my experience, we need to make it as easy as possible for our patients. We need to bring the treatment to them and be right next to the patient.
We also need to offer a pleasant environment, and this is what we are aiming to do with this new facility. Our plan is to have the highest levels of care, comfort and hygiene available for our patients, so we are by their side going forward.
HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED YOUR PATIENTS OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS?
We did not stop treatment on any of our patients, as we considered it essential for all of them to continue through the pandemic. We have also continuously stayed in touch with all our patients, to ensure their safety and to keep them well informed. Throughout this period, we have acted in the best interest of our patients, and we were right not to stop treatment. Cancer not being treated is more dangerous than COVID-19.
ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONAL SERVICES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE AVAILABLE TO CANCER PATIENTS IN CYPRUS?
When you see cancer patients going through their treatment and the side effects, you realise that you need to offer them as much support as possible. While cancer charities here in Cyprus are very good, I would like to see a significant increase in social services from the Government. They should not have to worry about day to day things such as how can they afford a taxi to get to the hospital. These are things that society should provide to the patient to make life as easy as possible. To be sick is bad enough, without the additional stress of economic factors. Cancer patients should just have to focus on their recovery. I do not believe this to be a luxury in life but an essential part of how society should support the sick, when they are going through difficult times.
Recently I had a patient who found herself, through no fault of her own, without a home and desperate for basic needs. In this day and age, this should not happen to the sick. We were involved in fundraising for this patient to provide her with just the basics to live. This is a sick woman whom we should protect from stress, and it saddens me, greatly, to see this happening here today. In the future, the Government needs to introduce more robust supportive measures for all patients in Cyprus.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEDICAL ADVICE FOR THE PREVENTION OF CANCER?
PREVENTION is the cure. Everyone can do this by leading a healthy lifestyle and making sure they have specific checks for certain cancers. We all know that we should not smoke, limit our alcohol, limit overeating and have plenty of exercise. There is no magic formula, but we have known for some time that these factors all play a part in the formation of cancer. If we catch cancer early enough, it massively improves our chances of treating it, so regular checks are the absolute key.
For more information, please visit bluecross.com.cy or call 26 221 111. St. George’s & Blue Cross Private Hospitals in Paphos are recommended as one of the best hospitals in Paphos and offer excellent care to all their patients.
Published by Cyprus in Style October 2020 – #InStyleBusinessNetwork