Spizhenko Clinic is the first medical center in Eastern Europe, where the CyberKnife robotic system for non-surgical treatment of cancer and vascular pathologies has began to be used.
The opening of the Clinic has allowed giving a chance to those who could not be helped by other forms of cancer treatment available in Ukraine.
Thanks to the unique CyberKnife technology and the attained level of efficiency of its use, Spizhenko Clinic is widely known not only in Ukraine – more than 55,000 patients from over 32 countries have received assistance from the robot.
In seven years, Spizhenko Clinic from the Radiation Surgery Center has turned into a full cycle cancer center, where, besides CyberKnife, patients are off ered other treatment methods (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted treatment). What inspired you to developing?
The idea of creation belongs to my father, Yurii Spizhenko. He dreamed to create a unique hospital, where robots provide highly-accurate treatment. At that time, analogues of such hospitals were only in Japan, the USA, and Germany. It looked unbelievable for most other countries. And thanks to my father, Ukraine became the first country in Eastern Europe, where a new specialty – a radio surgeon – appeared.
Mr. Spizhenko’s life was like the way of the winner. The first minister of independent Ukraine, the first academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the first president of the Pharmaceutical Committee of Ukraine… And the establishment of CyberKnife Center was the first step towards the construction of a full cycle cancer center in Ukraine. The correctness of this choice is confirmed by the modern concept of oncology, which involves the use of combination of all methods: radiosurgery, radiation therapy, surgery, targeted treatment and chemotherapy.
That is exactly why the purpose of the development of Spizhenk Clinic was to unite all the methods in one center. And we pursued this ambition for seven long years.
You mentioned that there are citizens of 32 countries among the 55 thousand of treated patients. How did they fi nd out about the existence of such a clinic in Ukraine?
One of the first steps in the work of Spizhenko Clinic was to undergo an accreditation process in insurance companies in different countries of the world. This gave our partners the opportunity to offer insured persons quality treatment at an international level at an affordable price. Further development and success in treatment contributed to the development of scientific relations of the Clinic with key foreign specialists – neurosurgeons, surgeons and oncologists. A research center, which work experience is actively represented in regular reports at international conferences, was established. All these contribute to the development of international cooperation and attraction of patients from other countries.
But any robot is ruled by a person. Where do you find the specialists of the right level?
In order to have the best doctors working in the Clinic, two things are necessary: to install the best equipment in the world and teach the doctor to work with it. We educated and continue to educate our cadres independently: exchange of experience, studying and traineeship abroad (in Germany, the USA and Italy). In the future, we are planning to open an independent medical university at Spizhenko Clinic. We have to do these ourselves. Human resources and equipment define everything.
And, nevertheless, everyone is interested not so much in how to cure themselves, but how to save themselves from cancer. What will you say about this?
Nowadays the ideal method for preventing cancer has not been invented. But many years of international experience demonstrate the superiority of preventive diagnostic measures in the fight against cancer.
They begin with self-diagnostics, which involves complex and high-tech diagnostic methods: CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), digital mammography and others.
Therefore, the world community of oncologists has developed for each age group complex diagnostic procedures and recommendations of the appropriate periodicity of conducting for each of their elements – the so-called “onco-screening” or “onco-check-up”.
This service exists in Spizhenko Clinic – it is based on the leading recommendations of the world community for each patient, we develop personalized onco-screening plans that take into account the individual peculiarities of organism. For example, for children since the age of 8, these plans include safe methods, such as ultrasound, MRI of the whole body, laboratory tests (including hormonal measurements). For adults, who have harmful habits and particularities of the professional activity, the onco-sreening programs are supplemented by more complex highly specialized diagnostic methods, such as CT of lungs, or gastroscopy and colonoscopy recommended once in 2-3 years. The Clinic has established Men’s and Women’s Health Centers for this.
Is CyberKnife, in fact, an almost perfect method of treating cancer?
In my opinion, yes, it is. Modern medicine can cure a patient with any localization of a tumor if it is diagnosed at an early stage. Even “asymptomatic” tumors of 1-2 mm in size will not hide from onco-screening with the objective diagnosis of the entire body of the patient, and a highaccuracy strike of the CyberKnife system will not leave any chance to cancer cells.
For a long time, the words “cancer” and “tumor” sounded like a verdict and the word “knife” aroused fear and pain. Today CyberKnife has completely turned upside down the concept of the cancer treatment. Many of those patients, who were considered “inoperable” prior to applying to Spizhenko Clinic, have already undergone treatment today, and those, who have avoided the traditional surgery, are being treated here without blood loss, without pain, without cuts and stitches. Treatment of cancer in Spizhenko Clinic is qualitative, quick, convenient and painless.
Many say that we do not and cannot have modern medicine in Ukraine. As we can see it is wrong. The success of the Clinic, created by Mr. Yurii Spizhenko and developed by his daughter, Ms. Natalia Spizhenko, is a striking example of the fact that modern, eff ective medical care already exists in Ukraine. And the only thing that is necessary in order to create world-class medicine in our country is the presence of people who know that there is nothing impossible. And Mss. Natalia Spizhenko is one of them.
Interviewed by Ihor Skrypnyk