“Every island holiday, every second’s exposure to the sun, can leave an indelible mark on the map of our skin. Some of these marks can prove more dangerous than others. Which is why it is critical we all visit a dermatologist to map our skin and its marks.”
Everyone who attended the opening of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center today at the Andreas Syngros Hospital (I. Dragoumi 5, Athens) read this message as they thumbed through the leaflet handed out at the event.
The renovation, which was funded exclusively by the Onassis Foundation, has turned the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center into a new, modern, functional space capable of seeing over 40 patients with dermatological disorders per day. This makes it an important part of our defense against a rapidly growing disease.
Recent years have witnessed a perilous rise in the incidence of melanomas in Greece. With 400–500 new diagnoses every year, skin cancer is now the sixth most common form of cancer in men and the seventh in women.
Faced with this reality, and keen as ever to contribute to the nation’s health, the Onassis Foundation undertook to finance a complete renovation of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center. The new Center, which at 250 square meters now covers three times the area of its predecessor, is equipped with four laboratories, a space where minor surgery can be carried out, a staff room, and a library space which can also be used for meetings and patient appointments.
A high-specification, modern space, it provides ideal conditions for the Center’s patients and medical staff, who are now equipped to do their jobs unimpeded.
Services provided by the Melanoma Center
- Diagnosing and treating patients with skin cancer, melanomas or precancerous lesions.
- Monitoring high-risk individuals
- Conducting clinical studies on new diagnostic and therapeutic methods
- Researching the epidemiology, pathogenesis and prognosis of melanomas
- Educating patients, physicians and the public in prevention and early diagnosis
- Providing psychological support for patients
Special Services provided by the Melanoma Center
- Skin mapping
- Total body photography
- Confocal microscopy
- Diagnostic biopsies
- Ultrasound mapping of lymph nodes (in association with the Radiology Department)
- Molecular diagnosis & genetic counselling
The opening ceremony got underway in the lecture theatre of the Andreas Syngros Hospital where, in addition to speeches and greetings, the awareness-raising campaign created by the Onassis Foundation under the scientific auspices of the Melanoma Center was presented for the first time.
The Minister for Health, Mr. Andreas Xanthos, honored the event with his presence and a speech in which he noted that: “The Melanoma Center at the Andreas Syngros Hospital, which has now been fully modernized thanks to a donation from the Onassis Foundation, can help prevent skin cancer as well as providing early diagnoses, and high-quality treatments to patients. It constitutes a further investment in public health, which has already been the recipient of significant human and material resources over the past three years.”
“Guided by medical innovation and excellence, applying meaningful, development-focused criteria, and seeking to release the potential of Greek society, the Onassis Foundation continues to support projects that are helping address the need of thousands of patients for access to high-quality, specialized health services. It was within this framework that we both supported the Andreas Syngros hospital in its efforts to rebuild the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center, and contributed to combating both through the campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers of melanomas and skin cancer. Because when the Onassis Foundation supports a public benefit initiative, it does more than simply fund a project. For the Onassis Foundation, working for the common good means connecting and collaborating on shared visions, values and goals. We support these in every way we can, which means we build on solid foundations,” the President of the Onassis Foundation, Dr. Anthony Papadimitriou, said in his speech.
The event was chaired by the Head of the Melanoma Center, Professor Alexandros Stratigos, who drew attention in his speech to the serious scale of the threat skin cancer now poses in Greece: “The worrying rise in the incidence of melanomas and skin cancer in Greece, in parallel with the great leaps that are being made in the field of their diagnosis and treatment, have created a need for specialized centers that can take a multi-treatment approach to skin cancer. We are delighted to have been able, thanks to generous funding from the Onassis Foundation, to completely renovate the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center, turning it into a model center which conforms with international standards and can provide high-quality medical services to our patients. The new Center’s increased capacity and modern facilities allow a more effective approach to be taken to the rising number of patients with skin cancer, and for the care they receive to be improved.”
Short speeches were also made by the Chancellor of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Mr. Athanasios Dimopoulos; the Director of the Andreas Syngros Hospital, Mr. Dimitris Rigopoulos; the Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Prof. Petros Sfikakis; and Ms. Christina Antoniou, Professor Emeritus of Athens University and a former director of the hospital.
Following the speeches, the attendees were taken on a guided tour of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center by Professor Stratigos.
HEALTH AND THE ONASSIS FOUNDATION
As the guardian of Aristotle Onassis’ vision, the Onassis Foundation has always invested in health. It was not by chance that the first of the major projects envisioned and implemented by the Foundation’s board of directors was the creation of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center (OCSC), a turning point in Greek health that would change the medical map of Greece forever.
From the creation of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center and renovation of the Melanoma Center at the Andreas Syngros Hospital to the implementation of the Onassis National Transplant Center, the awarding of dozens of scholarships to medical and nursing personnel, and the provision of support to collectives (like the “ELPIDA Association of friends of children with cancer” and “ELEPAP—Rehabilitation for the disabled”) with much to offer the nation’s health, the Onassis Foundation is motivated by a single goal: providing assistance to society and the state in the field of Health by supporting projects which provide citizens with access to high-quality health services.
Our ultimate goal is to release society’s potential in the field of health, as we also seek to do in the spheres of Education and Culture.