Member Profile: Europacolon Portugal

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About Europacolon Portugal

Europacolon Portugal, Association for the Support of Patients with Digestive Cancer, is a Private Institution of Social Solidarity, founded in 2006, in Porto, Portugal. They have a total of 1,500 Associates across the country. Their primary function is to contribute to the reduction of the number of deaths from Digestive Cancers, to promote and create awareness for prevention, to remind of the importance of early diagnosis, and to support patients and families, improving their quality of life.

They have three main goals:

  • Stimulate preventative attitudes
  • Improve the quality of life of patients, survivors, family members, and caregivers of people with digestive cancer
  • Help in decreasing the numbers of digestive cancer

Europacolon Portugal wants patients to have access to a rapid diagnosis (complementary diagnoses), to the best of treatment — Precision Medicine, Equity of Access, stabilization of the disease, greater survival with quality of life, and — very importantly — participation in therapeutic decisions.

They offer several types of patient support, such as:

  • Psychology Consultations
  • Nutrition Consultations
  • Social Support
  • 2nd Medical Opinion
  • Legal Support
  • “RAS” Test Logistics
  • Volunteering
  • Awareness Actions and Primary Prevention
  • Complementary Therapies (Reiki, Yoga, Clinical Hypnosis, Acupuncture)
  • Helpline: 808 200 199

In addition to their patient support services, Europacolon Portugal has developed additional Prevention and Support projects including their School Food Education Project, support groups, home support for patients, and informal caregiver support programs.

Vitor Neves, President of Europacolon Portugal

Current Projects

Currently, Europacolon Portugal is developing a pilot project called “+ Intestine” that is an important health initiative, bringing bowel cancer to the Black community through a Mobile Health Unit. Colorectal cancer is the third cause of cancer worldwide. In Portugal alone, more than 10,000 people are diagnoses every year, resulting in 4,000 deaths. If detected early, bowel cancer can be stabilized in more than 90% of cases. Similarly to pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer needs increased awareness and advocacy.

According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans are about 20 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer and about 40 percent more likely to die from it than most other groups. While there is no relevant data on this in Europe, this project will be a great starting point.


Continuing Goals

Pancreatic cancer is often a silent disease. It mostly affects people over the age of 55, with an average diagnosis of 72 years. Eighty percent of people diagnosed with end-stage pancreatic cancer only live four to six months.

In Portugal, it is estimated that there are 1,619 new cases per year. Europacolon Portugal believes that we need more and more disease awareness campaigns that reach the population and help them understand this disease, risk factors, prevention, and treatments. It is mandatory that the population knows more about the pancreatic cancer systems and means of diagnosis. It is also fundamental to create patient support programs for patients and their families/caregivers. Support for pancreatic cancer patients improves quality of life and well-being!

In addition to helping spread awareness about pancreatic cancer with the WPCC, Europacolon Portugal continues to work on several different goals:

  • Encouraging greater participation of family physicians
  • Encouraging doctors to value the symptomatology of pancreatic cancer
  • Improving rapid diagnosis, with the possibility of surgery, to ensure stabilization of the disease
  • Improving access to the best therapies
  • Providing equal access across the country
  • Monitoring of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors
  • Achieving quick decisions and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors with innovative technologies (Nuclear Medicine)

To learn more about Europacolon Portugal, visit their member page.