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The French healthcare system

Understand the French healthcare system and cancer treatments

The French healthcare system has a very good reputation, but it can be difficult to navigate through the administration, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the process, not bi-lingual, and (on top of everything) coping with the stress of a diagnosis.
CSF-Languedoc are able to provide practical support and advice to you through all or, if you prefer, just some of the key stages of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Below is a short glossary of some of the most common terms you are likely to come across in your dealings with the French healthcare system:

  • Carte Vitale
    Medical care is accessed through being registered in the healthcare system, and a Carte Vitale is required as proof of eligibility. Recent arrivals in France may not have completed the registration and need advice.
  • Medecin traitant
    Your first point of contact is usually with your local doctor. Your medecin traitant (similar to General Practitioner in the UK) will give you a prescription (ordonnance) to see a cancer consultant and for any initial scans.
  • Affection Longue Durée
    Patients diagnosed with cancer are registered as Affection Longue Durée (ALD). Medical treatment associated with ALD is provided free of charge within the French healthcare system. . 
  • Consultant
    Appointments with a consultant are made by the patient, often by telephone. Patients (or their carers) often need advice or language support in this part of the process.
  • Scans
    The consultant may request detailed scans to be carried out and these are generally carried out at specialist hospitals such as Institut du Cancer de Montpellier (ICM). 
  • Treatment Protocol
    The consultant will recommend a treatment protocol depending on the cancer diagnosis. This may involve radiotherapy, immunotherapy or chemotherapy and be carried out at a hospital or clinic.
  • Palliative care
    In some circumstances, patients can receive their treatment at home instead of hospital. Palliative care is provided through the Hospitalisation a Domicile (HAD) scheme.


What’s New in the World of Cancer Research?

Stool tests might provide a useful way to help doctors spot early pancreatic cancer, say researchers

Researchers have been trialling the concept of analysing stool samples to spot pancreatic cancer early, in a study with 136 volunteers. The findings, described in the BMJ journal Gut, suggest detectable changes involving gut bugs could provide a warning sign that a tumour is present.


Treating cancer with light-sensitive nanoscale biomaterials: Combining nanotechnology with laser light creates powerful effect on cancer cells

Treating cancer and other diseases with laser light is not currently considered routine, but new approaches using nanoparticles show some promise in improving existing techniques. Researchers review the status of the field and by combining photothermal therapy or photodynamic therapy with nanomaterials, they have been able to apply these types of phototherapies while also delivering drugs to sites in the body that are otherwise inaccessible. It is also possible to combine PTT and PDT into a single treatment, creating an even more powerful treatment method. (Source: American Institute of Physics)

Lower, more frequent doses of nanomedicines may enhance cancer treatment

The strategy may make tumours more vulnerable to anti-cancer therapies

Both nanomedicines and metronomic scheduling — when medications are given at lower, more frequent doses — can correct abnormalities surrounding tumours that help protect cancer cells and foster their growth and spread. Combining nanomedicines and metronomic scheduling may help improve cancer treatment strategies. (Source: Massachusetts General Hospital, USA)

Stealth nanomedicines combat cancer and cut toxic effects of chemo

New research has identified that the frequently used chemotherapy drug (5-FU or Fluorouracil) is 100 per cent more effective at targeting tumours (rather than surrounding tissues) when administered using an optimized liposomal formulation. (Source: University of South Australia)

Do you or a family member need cancer support? CSF-Languedoc can help.

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