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Free Surgeries of Malignant Tumor were Performed Jointly by Dr. Gennaro D. LaBella and Meduni

Free surgeries with new generation laparoscopic instruments were performed in Yerevan for the past 4 days by Gennaro D. LaBella, an American doctor, surgeon-laparoscopist.

To share his experience with Armenian doctors, LaBella performs surgeries of malignant colon tumor in Fanarjyan National Center of Oncology of the Ministry of Health.

The doctor has performed 5 surgeries since October 21. As many surgeries will have been performed by tomorrow.

The project was organized by Meduni Charitable Foundation based in the United States of America. President of the company Vahagn Martirosyan said that their organization was trying to implement a program and bring medical equipment to Armenia. Within the framework of the program, American doctors will arrive in Armenia and share their experience with Armenian specialists.

“Dr. Gennaro D. LaBella is one of top specialists in colon cancer. To perform surgeries in Armenia, the doctor brought in a laparoscopic device that enables to perform a biopsy (the basic method of diagnosing cancer) and a surgery as a whole”, Vahagn Martirosyan said.

According to Martirosyan, the situation with cancer is not very satisfying in Armenia, so they are trying their best to change the situation. The heads of the Fanarjyan National Center of Oncology and the Ministry of Health create favorable conditions for their activities.

The laparoscopic method is not new in Armenia; however, no laparoscopic surgeries of gastrointestinal tract cancer have been performed in Armenia so far. Gennaro D. LaBella is here to demonstrate the application of this method. The equipment costs 200-300 thousand dollars.

According to the American doctor, there has been an increase in malignant tumors in Armenia, so one of his goals is to teach Armenian doctors to perform these surgeries in a laparoscopic way. The main goal, however, is to raise the awareness of Armenians and launch screening programs that will allow detecting tumors at early stages and make surgeons’ work easier.

Prevention instead of surgical treatment. The doctor believes that the Armenian population should understand that prevention is easier than cure.

“I recommend undergoing colonoscopy (a method of colon examination) after the age of 50 and try to find tumors at an early stage,” LaBella said.

The doctor said that after getting acquainted with Vahagn Martirosyan, he received an invitation to go to Armenia and share his experience of laparoscopic colon surgeries with Armenian doctors. After discussing the program with the acting head of the National Center of Oncology, they agreed to cooperate.

LaBella works primarily at Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, specializing in the treatment of oncological diseases. He is currently performing surgeries at a number of hospitals in the state, including Bethesda North Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, and TriHealth Evendale Hospital. The doctor is also a member of the American Board of Surgery and American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery and a lecturer at the TriHealth General Surgery Residency Program.

The Meduni Charitable Foundation was founded 2 years ago. This is their second project this year. The first program was implemented in Washington DC. The foundation organized an event and welcomed the City of Smile Charity Foundation led by Anna Hakobyan.

Due to lack of interest, no projects were previously implemented in Armenia. The foundation is now planning to expand their programs both in terms of medical supplies and the organization of doctors’ visits to Armenia.

“We are now discussing our plans for 2020 that would include palliative care and training of Armenian doctors in a number of top American universities. We have a contract with Georgetown University, where our doctors can specialize in oncology,” said the head of the foundation. The organization will cover the expenses of Armenian doctors and students.


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