Chemotherapy cost in Greece

Treatment and Cost

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About the Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a category of standardized drug administration of various types for the treatment of cancer. With a curative intent, some combinations of drugs are administered to a patient to prolong their life and also to bring about a reduction in the symptoms shown by the patient. Chemotherapy treatment is considered to be one of the major categories of medical oncology. Many people around the world are prescribed to undergo chemotherapy treatment instead of undergoing a surgical procedure. But many are frightened with the side effects of this treatment as it is believed to reduce the quality of life of the patients.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a procedure where non-specific intracellular poisons are used, which are specifically related to preventing the process of mitosis or the natural cell division of the cancerous cells. This technique rather excludes those agents that are responsible for selective extracellular growth signal blockade (signal transduction blockers). If spoken about these agents used in chemotherapy, it has been found that most of them are cytotoxic in nature due to their property of interfering with natural mitosis. However, the cells of cancer can differ widely in terms of showing susceptibility to these administered agents.

Chemotherapy can be defined as a way of mass destruction of stress cells, which would eventually lead to the death of the cells when apoptosis is initiated. The commonly known side effects of chemotherapy can be traced back to the process of damaging normal non-cancerous cells, which are in the process of rapid division. They are sensitive to anti-mitotic drugs that are being administered to the patient and such cells may include the cells of the hair follicles, digestive tract lining, and bone marrow. But nowadays treatment options have undergone a lot of modification by which these side effects can be well countered.

Types of Chemotherapy Drugs

Various options of drugs are available to treat different types of cancer including the following:

Alkylating agents: These kinds of agents prove to be extremely beneficial during the cell’s resting phase. The various kinds of alkylating agents that are employed in chemotherapy treatment include the following:

  • Mustard gas derivatives: Cyclophosphamide, mechlorethamine, chlorambucil, ifosfamide, melphalan
  • Ethylenimines: Thiotepa and hexamethylmelamine
  • Alkylsulfonates: Busulfan
  • Metal salts: Oxaliplatin, cisplatin, and carboplatin
  • Nitrosoureas: Streptozocin, lomustine, carmustine

Nitrosoureas are unique from the rest for choices in chemotherapy treatment due to their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and treating tumors of the brain.

Plant alkaloids: Plant alkaloids employed for chemotherapy treatment are derived from plants.  These include vinca alkaloids, taxanes, podophyllotoxins, and camptothecan analogs. The plant alkaloids are cell cycle specific agents, which enables them to attack the dividing cells in various stages of their division cycle.

Antimetabolites: This kind of chemotherapy treatment involves substances that are similar in composition to the normal substances present in the cell. When these substances get incorporated in the process of cellular metabolism, then the cell is no longer able to divide. They are also cell cycle specific and can be classified further according to the substance in the cell with which they interfere.

Topoisomerase inhibitors: When the topoisomerase enzymes in the body ( topoisomerase I and II) are inhibited as a result of chemotherapy drugs, then those drugs are referred to as topoisomerase inhibitors. During the chemotherapy, the topoisomerase enzymes are responsible for controlling structural manipulation of the DNA which is necessary for the purpose of replication.

Miscellaneous antineoplastics: Different types of drugs make each chemotherapy treatment process unique. Enzymes, retinoids, adrenocortical steroid inhibitor, ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor or antimicrotubule agents can be used as chemotherapy drugs.

How is Chemotherapy performed?

Some of the chemotherapy drugs are involved in damaging the cell at the time of splitting while others do their jobs when the gene copies are being made by the cell prior to division. The cells that are in resting phase are very less likely to get damaged. Different kind of drugs damage the cells at different stages and hence a combination of various drugs will increase the chance of damaging more number of cancer cells.

Chemotherapy drugs can be given in a variety of ways. At times due to the destructive nature of stomach enzymes, some of the drugs are impossible to administer as pills. While for other drugs the effects are better realized when administered intravenously. Some of them can be injected into muscles while other can be given directly to the abdominal cavity and bladder directly.

Ways to administer Chemotherapy Medications 

Oral chemo medications:

They are administered orally and are available in various forms such as liquids, tablets, capsules, and pill. All these forms can be absorbed by the stomach or under the tongue. The protective coating around them is broken down by digestive juices of the stomach and then the medication is directly absorbed by the lining of the stomach. There are some which have a certain amount of time delay between the administration and the actual release of the medicine.

Subcutaneous injection:

With the help of a short needle, the drug is administered into the region between the muscle and skin but it does not penetrate as far as the layer of muscles. They are used for some biologic response modifiers and support drugs of chemotherapy. If the platelet count of the patient is low, then it is less likely that such injections can cause any bleeding more than that in case if it was an intra muscular injection.

Intramuscular chemo injections:

In this case, the injection penetrates the muscle layer and a large needle has to be used for this so that the medication gets deposited in the tissues of the muscle. Most chemotherapy cannot be implemented via intramuscular injection owing to its harshness. People with low platelet counts are not advised with this due to the possibility of bleeding within the muscle.

Intravenous chemo treatments:

This also gets absorbed rapidly in the circulation system in the body. It offers more flexibility, thus making it more common. Continuous infusions are ensured through this method for days and weeks if required. Some of the types of intravenous infusions include the following:

  • Angiocatheter:  A line is established in the arm or hand and infusions can be continued for few minutes to few days.
  • PICC line:  It is considered temporary but the stretch can continue for 6 weeks to a few months. The long plastic catheter is placed in one of the larger veins of the arm. It can be done by fixing it with a portable pump even at home.
  • Non-tunnelled catheters:  Through the skin, the sub clavian or the jugular vein is accessed and the line goes through the superior vena cava to the right atrium of the heart. They are used as short-term option during emergencies. Careful maintenance and regular dressing change are required in these cases.
  • Tunneled catheters:  This catheter goes through the middle of the chest, going past the subcutaneous tissue reaching the superior vena cava vessel entering the right atrium of the heart. They can be even left for years with little chances of infection. They can have multiple lumens for infusions and good for extensive therapy like the bone marrow transplant procedure.
  • Port-a-cath:  Chemo port or Port-a-cath act as a permanent option. It is usually placed by a surgeon or a radiologist. The lifetime of this can vary from three to five years. Dressing changes are not required but maintenance may be required for this at home.
Intraventricular chemo treatments:

In this procedure, the drugs are meant to reach the cerebrospinal fluid. The blood-brain barrier stops many drugs to reach it and hence in two ways it can be done; one is the lumbar puncture and the other is Ommaya reservoir. A dome-shaped device with a catheter attached is placed in the subcutaneous layer on the scalp. It is threaded to the lateral ventricle of the brain. A small needle is placed through the ommaya reservoir to inject drugs. This is good for chemotherapy for leukemia.

Intraperitoneal chemo treatment:

In this case, the drug can be directly drained into the abdominal cavity, the general cavity surrounding the organs. The organs, as a result, get bathed in the medication before it gets absorbed into the tumor site.

Intra arterial chemo treatments

Here the drug is given directly to the artery supplying blood to a tumor. This kind of treatment is beneficial for colon cancer, limb melanoma, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, and some other forms of cancer.

Intravesicular chemo treatments:

A urinary catheter is used to access the urinary bladder and useful for people suffering from superficially invasive bladder cancer.

Intrapleural chemo treatments:

This is the chemotherapy for lung cancer where the drug is administered in the pleural cavity to control malignant pleural effusions and used for symptom relief.

Implantable chemotherapy treatment

A gliadel wafer can be placed in the cavity after removal of tumor in the brain. It can be left for 2 or 3 weeks to ensure that all cancer cells are finally killed in the area surrounding the brain tumor site.

Topical chemo treatments:

In this case, a cream is applied to the skin and used to treat cancerous lesions on the skin itself. Not used very commonly but used for treating skin cancer.

Recovery from Chemotherapy

  • For patients who can tolerate a high dose of drugs, chemotherapy cycle is carried out in a single go after every three weeks.
  • For patients who are not expected to tolerate a high dose of drugs, the same cycle is split into two or three light doses, which are administered at an interval of a week.
  • The platelet and white blood cells count may drop after each cycle of chemotherapy, which usually recovers on its own if proper diet is maintained. Some patients may experience loss of appetite. It is important for them and all other patients to take plenty of fluids and plain water to recover after chemotherapy. This will reduce fatigue, weakness, and joint pain while restoring the platelet and WBC count.
  • Patients are advised to take the emergency medicine prescribed by the doctor in case they experience pain, vomiting, nausea, or general sickness. Inform the specialist immediately in case of any adverse reactions.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Chemotherapy in Greece?

The Chemotherapy package cost in Greece varies from one hospital to another and may offer different benefits. The top hospitals for Chemotherapy in Greece covers all the expenses related to the pre-surgery investigations of the candidate. The comprehensive Chemotherapy package cost includes the cost of investigations, surgery, medicines and consumables. Post-surgical complications, new findings and delayed recovery may have an impact on the total Chemotherapy cost in Greece.

Which are some of the best hospitals in Greece for Chemotherapyt?

Many hospitals in Greece perform Chemotherapy. For quick reference, the following are some of the leading hospitals for Chemotherapy in Greece:

  1. European Interbalkan Medical Centre
  2. Metropolitan Hospital
How many days does it take to recover post Chemotherapy in Greece?

The recovery of the patient many vary, depending on several factors. However, on an average, patient is supposed to stay for about 21 days in the country after discharge. During this time, the patient undergoes medical tests and consultations. this is to ensure that the treatment was successful and the patient us safe to return.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Chemotherapy?

Greece is considered to be one of the best places for Chemotherapy in the world. This is because of the availability of some of the best doctors, advanced medical technology and good hospital infrastructure. Some of the other popular destinations for Chemotherapy include the following:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 500
IsraelUSD 7000
MalaysiaUSD 1800
SingaporeUSD 1500
SpainUSD 7500
ThailandUSD 2500
TurkeyUSD 1250
United Arab EmiratesUSD 4200
How much are the other expenses in Greece apart from the cost of Chemotherapy?

There are certain additional cost that the patient has to pay apart from the Chemotherapy cost. The per day cost in this case may start from USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in Greece for Chemotherapy Procedure?

Chemotherapy in Greece is offered in almost all metropolitan cities, including the following:

  1. Ethnarchou Makariou
  2. Rhodes
  3. Salonika
  4. Chortiatis
  5. Athens
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Chemotherapy in Greece?

The patient is supposed to stay at the hospital for about 1 days after Chemotherapy for monitoring and care. During the recovery, the patient is carefully monitored and control tests are performed to see that everything is okay. If required, physiotherapy sessions are also planned during recovery in hospital.

How many hospitals offer Chemotherapy in Greece?

There are more than 2 hospitals that offer Chemotherapy in Greece. These clinics have proper infrastructure for the treatment of patients who require kidney transplant. These hospitals comply with all the rules and regulations as dictated by the regulatory bodies and medical association in Greece

Who are the best doctors for Chemotherapy in Greece?

Some of the most sought after medical specialists for Chemotherapy in Greece are:

  1. Dr. Giassas Stylianos
  2. Dr. Antonakis Pantelis
  3. Dr. Kentepozidis Nikolaos
  4. Dr. Pazaiti Anastasia
  5. Dr. Angelidou Cheretis Eirini

FAQ's Related to Greece

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in Greece?

Some of the top hospitals in Greece are:

  1. The Central Clinic of Athens, Athens
  2. Athens Vita Veritas
  3. European Interbalkan Medical Centre, Chortiatis
  4. Metropolitan Hospital, Ethnarchou Makariou
  5. Euromedica General Hospital of Rhodes, Rhodes
  6. New Life IVF, Salonika
  7. Garavelas Medical Group, Athens

Greece has world-class hospitals that strictly follow international health standards and are backed by internationally accredited physicians. Some of the popular destinations like Corfu, Peloponnese, Crete, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupolis, Kalamata, and Athens are flocked with the majority of hospitals, which help in the growth of medical tourism in the country.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in Greece?

Joint Commission International (JCI) is the main healthcare accreditation body in Greece. The healthcare standards are followed by all accredited hospitals and have been developed in consultation with world healthcare experts and providers, and patients. There is a strict evaluation process to assess the quality and performance of hospitals and the certification is awarded to only those hospitals that meet all the criteria defined by JCI. Healthcare standards let hospitals control, evaluate, and improve the standards of quality healthcare.

Why should I opt for healthcare in Greece?

Greece has emerged as one of the most popular medical tourism destinations in the world, with world-class doctors and hospitals that offer quality treatment at an affordable cost. The country is very popular throughout Europe and the United States for its world-class medical services. The country’s medical facilities comply with the international healthcare standards to ensure the quality of treatment. Greece is considered a heaven for medical tourists because of its lovely landscape, a lot of sunshine, unique Mediterranean cuisine, and therapeutic natural springs. Availability of highly experienced medical experts with global exposure, affordable and quality private healthcare services, and technologically-driven medical care are some of the factors that contribute to the growth of the medical tourism industry in Greece.

What is the quality of doctors in Greece?

Around 95 percent of doctors in Greece are specialists and are not restricted to only general medicine. Also, the majority of the doctors have received training in different countries and capable of handling even the most complex cases with quite an ease. Greece has a large pool of trained and experienced fertility specialists who adopt a holistic approach to fertility treatments and have reported high success rates in IVF and other fertility procedures. The quality of the doctors is strictly evaluated based on the parameters set by the government. It is mandatory for all doctors to attend a minimum of 80 hours of training every five years. Doctors in Greece have grabbed global attention because of several things like their unique surgical approach to complex penile urethra stenosis, doing free-of-charge cardiothoracic surgery, and performing the first live-streamed global interactive rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery.

What is the process for obtaining medical visa in Greece?

Depending on the length of stay in Greece, a person can apply for either of the below two types of visa:

  1. Schengen Visa: For short stay
  2. National Visa: For prolonged stay

A Schengen Visa allows you to reside in Greece for 90 days within a period of six months. Make sure you have the below-listed documents when applying for a medical visa:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Recent passport size photographs
  3. Valid insurance papers
  4. Accommodation proof from the candidate
  5. Employment documents along with bank statements
  6. Medical certificate attested by the referring registered medical practitioner

All the submitted documents are thoroughly checked by the Greece embassy before issuing a medical visa.

What are the popular procedures available in Greece?

A large number of people visits Greece to avail the below-listed procedures:

  1. IVF
  2. Breast augmentation
  3. Liposuction
  4. Nose reshaping
  5. Eyelid surgery
  6. Face lift
  7. Hair transplantation

Greece is also known for offering the best renal dialysis at an affordable price. There are several dialysis centers equipped with all modern facilities. Around 300,000 cosmetic procedures are performed annually in Greece. The reasons for the popularity of plastic surgery in the country are the use of modern technology, highly trained plastic surgeons, and the latest innovations. The country has made commendable advancements in the field of fertility treatment. Greek scientists have made breakthrough research into fertility treatment, particularly, male fertility and sperm health.

Which are the most popular cities in Greece for medical treatment?

The cities in Greece which have received worldwide recognition for medical tourism are: 1. Athens 2. Kalamata 3. Peloponnese 4. Alexandropoulos 5. Thessaloniki 6. Corfu 7. Athens

Athens is most popular among these cities as it has many world-class hospitals that provide high-standard medical services in areas like cosmetic surgery, orthopedics, gynecology and obstetrics, and rehabilitation. Santorini, a beautiful island, offers medical tourists a breathtaking view and provides them relaxation, rejuvenation, and wellness, which are needed for a speedy recovery. Other factors that make these cities popular among medical tourists are cheap accommodation, language assistance, transportation facilities, and a wide range of food options.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to Greece?

Vaccination is compulsory before traveling to Greece. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccines:

  1. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
  2. Chickenpox
  3. Shingles
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Influenza
  6. Hepatitis A
  7. Hepatitis B
  8. Meningitis
  9. Polio
  10. Measles
  11. Rabies
  12. Mumps and rubella (MMR)

It is always recommended to get immunized before traveling to Greece as some of its parts are periodically hit by routine diseases. You should consult your doctor to seek travel medical advice related to your personal requirements, including your present medical conditions, advice on vaccination, and medication-based on the past vaccination history. Also, check with the government authority or hospitals in Greece to what vaccination should be taken.

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