Senior Consultant Professor Ernst Späth-Schwalbe
MBA Medical Director, Vivantes Hospital in Spandau, Berlin
Oncological diseases are on the increase as a result of changing lifestyles and demographics and could soon replace heart disease as the most common cause of death in humans.
At the Vivantes Hospital in Spandau for Internal Medicine, Oncology, Haematology and Palliative Medicine, highly qualified doctors treat almost 2,000 cancer patients every year; a total of around 14,000 are treated across the entire Vivantes network. Highly qualified staff provide end-to-end care from diagnosis and therapy to aftercare and rehabilitation. Working together as an interdisciplinary team plays an important part in this.
Interdisciplinary collaboration – the key to a successful outcome
The hospital focuses on diagnosing and treating patients suffering from cancer and other diseases of the digestive system. In addition to these specialisms, the clinic also treats other internal illnesses. All required specialists including oncologists, surgeons, radiotherapists, radiologists and nuclear medicine technologists work closely together in interdisciplinary tumour conferences. This enables an optimum treatment plan to be drawn up and put into practice for each patient. Through the use of systemic (chemotherapy) and localised therapies such as radio frequency ablation and chemoembolisation, patients with malignant tumours can either be cured or given palliative care to maintain as high a quality of life as possible.
Senior Consultant Professor Ernst Späth-Schwalbe, a world-renowned expert, has headed up the Department for Haematology, Oncology, Gastroenterology and Palliative Medicine at the Vivantes Hospital in Spandau, Berlin, since 2001. In addition to his work at the hospital, he has also been president of the Berlin Tumour Centre and is the spokesman for the Vivantes North Oncological Centre.
Professor Späth-Schwalbe stresses that “all our patients with cancer, regardless of which stage this is at, receive treatment and care tailored to their individual needs.”
Great care is taken to make the hospital a place where people feel comfortable and secure. Our medical team includes nurses who are highly specialised and extremely dedicated and have many years of experience looking after seriously ill patients. Psycho-oncological support is provided by a specially trained psychologist. A whole team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dieticians is on hand to offer support during a course of treatment coordinated to include both outpatient and inpatient care.
Particular emphasis is given to the early integration of palliative medicine in the treatment of patients with advanced tumours. It is the job of the palliative care unit to relieve symptoms that are brought on by advanced and incurable tumourrelated illnesses. The primary objective of the treatment is to enable patients to return to a familiar environment as free of pain and discomfort as possible. We never lose sight of the individual and all the desires, suffering, hopes and fears that they carry with them.
Ground-breaking organisation and ongoing development
In 2007 the Oncological Centre in Berlin became the first to be certified by the German Society for Haematology and Oncology and was accredited as a “designated centre of integrated oncology and palliative care” by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). Standards in diagnosis and therapy are continually updated to reflect advancements in medical science and innovative developments. To further this goal, the clinic participates in clinical trials evaluating the latest oncological treatments.