"Apart from the depression most of them experience after the diagnostics, some of the medicines used during their treatment have a side-effect on their mental health. Several professionals were trained abroad and then introduced psychosocial services in Armenia. It is desirable that all patients receive psychological support. Many clinics in Armenia lack such a service,” Safaryan said.
Yeva Asribabayan, Director of the Armenian Psycho-Oncology Association, who also took part in the discussion, admits that introducing the service contributes to their self-education. It all began back in 2014 at YSU when promotion of the idea of psycho-oncology was initiated.
"In 2 years we understood that the service is indeed on demand. We mostly work with the elderly and it would be good if the service is available to most patients," she said.
According to another discussion participant Anna Baghdasaryan, clinical psychologist at the National Oncology Institute after V. Fanarjyan, most people seek such services when they first learn about their disease.
"Within the year, the service was sought by people mostly at the diagnostics, pre-surgical or chemotherapy stages. At such stages, they experience considerable uncertainty and alarm. Most patients seeking psychological services are those suffering breast cancer, especially when it comes to amputation of the organ," she said.
Cancer survivor Varduhi Sargsyan did not use such service during her treatment. She regrets a lot for not using it and also insists that apart from patients, their family and close relatives need such support, too.
"As a person who has gone through all these stages, I understand how essential psychological support is, especially in case of cancer diagnosis. Such service is essential for patient's family as well. Depression starts to pose an obstacle to treatment and in many cases it is necessary to "bring the family to their senses" so that they do not hinder treatment of the patient. I have met and talked to many cancer patients. This diagnosis is a death sentence for most of them," Varduhi Sargsyan added.
Lilit Arakelyan, Media Center Project Editor/Coordinator
To contact the author, please email: Lilitarakelyan@pjc.am