World Cancer Day marked at Hospital da Luz

World Cancer Day (4 February) was marked at Hospital da Luz with a public symposium attended by more than 150 people, mostly patients and ex-patients of the Hospital's Oncology Centre, accompanied by family members.

In addition to the testimony of two patients who shared their experiences of cancer, the symposium sought to emphasize the physical well-being of cancer sufferers. It focused on nutrition-related issues and also on the spiritual and emotional dimensions, giving special emphasis to the role of positive psychology in adverse situations.

The role of nutrition in promoting well-being was the theme of a lecture given by Gabriel Mateus. In addition to outlining the main problem areas such as smoking and a sedentary lifestyle which scientific evidence points to as cancer risk factors, he also listed a series of foods, including vegetables and fresh fruits, whole grains and lean meat, whose inclusion in the diet can contribute to the prevention of certain types of cancer.

The adoption of a suitable patient food plan was also one of the topics discussed and one that should not be undervalued. Taking several meals a day, including dried fruits, foods rich in protein and high in calories were recommended in order to avoid undernourishing the cancer patient. The lecture was supplemented with a series of cooking ideas given by chef de cuisine Duarte Alves.

The spiritual dimension of the human being and the disease process was the theme of the lecture of Brother Pedro Monteiro, and emotional well-being and the benefits of psychology was the topic addressed by psychologist Catarina Riviero. The focus here was very much on the attitude that cancer patients should adopt in their day-to-day lives. While feelings of anger, pain or fear are natural, said the psychologist, these should not be repressed, because expressing them allows the sufferer to understand and overcome them, and turn them into positive feelings.

The public's involvement is also worth highlighting, with questions and comments from the many participants. The meeting was ultimately highly praised for contributing to a greater understanding of the daily lives of those affected by oncological diseases.