Already 10 years POLA represents and defends the interests of cancer patients in public authorities and institutions, implements public awareness companies and educational programs, provides targeted services to patients and their caregivers via POLA card programme, so that people affected by serious health problems would receive the best possible and the most appropriate assistance and support,
POLA works in different but complementary directions:
- educates society about the importance of lifestyle, physical activity, nutrition, health literacy for the prevention of oncological and other diseases.
- seeks to ensure that no one who has been diagnosed with cancer feels lonely, promotes communication and support between patients, enables them to become members of the POLA community, helps to establish patients’ associations in the regions, shares good practice, and develops and strengthens POLA-affiliated organizations.
- teaches patients and their caregivers how to actively engage in the process of treatment and rehabilitation, organises free seminars, trainings, conferences, therapeutic sessions, prepares publications, video lectures; has created and is constantly developing a POLA patient app.
- provides community members with the personalized help they need: offers free specialist consultations on legal issues, also consultations of psychologists, advice on lifestyle and nutrition.
- aims to reduce financial burden of cancer patients and their families and builds partnerships with businesses and organizations by including them in the POLA card partnerships providing discounts for various goods and services ranging from 15 to 100 percent.
- raise awareness about the need for and importance of emotional support, develops partnerships with cultural and entertainment institutions who regularly donate invitations to attend their events free of charge for number of POLA card holders and their family members.
- regularly posts relevant and useful information for patients on the website pola.lt, in the Facebook account POLA Against Cancer, and in 4 virtual patient communities (Life with Breast Cancer / Life with Prostate Cancer / Life with Prostate Cancer / Life with Melanoma), also distributes it by e-mails and SMS.
- submits proposals regarding various public administration decisions in the fields of health care, social security, public administration policy, participates in the legislative process and pursues patient advocacy.
POLA is a member of the following international organizations: European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC); Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE), Youth Cancer Europe (YCE), through their membership in these European organizations also participate in the activities of the European Cancer Organization (ECO).
Our annual reports are available in Lithuanian via here.
POLA recommendations, studies and position papers (in Lithuanian):
- The compendium of legal advice provided by the POLA (answers to the most frequent questions by patients on general patient rights, temporary incapacity for work, rehabilitation, disability and partial working capacity, special needs, benefits and allowances, additional possibilities for treatment and drug reimbursement)
- Corruption and quality of treatment services: study and practical recommendations for patients and their relatives
- POLA analysis: difficulties and peculiarities of the determination of disability for oncological patients
- POLA study: Risk factors for oncological diseases – what is important to know for oncology patients and their relatives
- POLA study: The prevention of corruption by Medical Institutions under the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania
POLA event and training materials (in Lithuanian)
International Conference “Ways to Improve the Efficiency of the Health System”
How to improve cooperation between doctor and patient? (Part III)
How to improve cooperation between doctor and patient? (Part II)
How to improve cooperation between doctor and patient? (Part I)
When are we going to stop giving bribes to the health system?
Rational use of medicines
Challenges in ‘end-of-life’ issues in health care
Problems and solutions of oncology patients
Communication in achieving organization’s objectives
Communication in representation of the interests of patients
How to improve communication between the doctor and the patient
Video of professor Robert J. Thomas’s 2017-04-05 lecture to patients with translation to Lithuanian
Currently, POLA brings together 30 organizations that play an active role in the area of cancer support.
Once facing the diagnosis of cancer, a person very frequently tends to close himself, not to share his experiences and fears with others. However, this does not help to recover, but only complicates the psychological condition of the sufferer, leading to depression and more frustration. At this point, psychological support and assistance from anyone aside are crucial. According to specialists, family relationships, communication with people with a similar diagnosis in psychological self-help groups are very important for patients with oncological diseases.
POLA invites people of similar destiny to form communities – patient societies in order to overcome oncological disease together.
In this section, you will find contacts of non-governmental organizations already operating in Lithuania, but if you cannot find any around your location, we will advise and help you to bring together such a community in your region.
- Lithuanian Association of Patients with Prostate Cancer
- Šiauliai City Women’s Breast Pathology Association “SALVIA”
- Lithuanian Society of Brain Tumor Patients and Their Caregivers
- Birštonas Oncology Club “Viltis gyventi”
- Elektrėnai Health Society “Mes Esame”
- “Viva Femina” Society of Women with Oncological Diseases in Šilutė District
- “EIVENA”Society of Women with Oncological Diseases
- Society of Colorectal Cancer Patients
- Plunge Association of Oncological Diseases “Mano lemtis”
- Charity and Support Fund “Mamų unija”
- Public institution “Virtus LT”
- Public institution “Inkocentras”
- Public institution “Bene esse”
- Public institution “Šiauliai Palliative Care and Care Centre”
- Public institution “Vita Digna”
- Public institution “Patient Psychological Support Centre”
- Association “Aušvis”
- Charity and Support Fund “Pagalbos namuose tarnyba”
- Association “Onkologinė savipagalba Lazdijuose”
- Vilkaviškis Cancer Patients Association “Viltis”
- Marijampolė Cancer Patients Association “Rūpestėlis”
- Jurbarkas Cancer Patients Association “JOLA”
- Utena Cancer Patients Association “Vilties kelias”
- Jonavos Cancer Patients Association
- Association “Onkologinės ligos draugas”
- Ukmergė Cancer Patients Association “Uola”
- Rokiškis Cancer Patients Association “Vilties žybsnis”
- Mažeikiai Cancer Patients Association “Sveik Veik”
- Raseiniai Cancer Patients Association “Versmė”
30. Panevėžys Cancer Patients Association “Myliu gyvenimą”
Any non-governmental or public organization providing assistance to people with oncological diseases and their families can become a member of POLA.
WHY IT IS WORTH IT
As a POLA member, you will have the possibility to:
- Participate in solving relevant questions and problems in the field of oncology
- Influence legislative process in the field of oncology. For example, the members of POLA participate actively in meetings of the Ministry of Health and the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.
- Cooperate and consult with members of the Association in resolving any issues prominent to the organization.
- Build connections with other organizations in the field of oncology in Lithuania and abroad. For example, The Macmillan Cancer support, a non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom, Cancer Choices in Northern Ireland, and the charity fund “The Tiltas Trust”.
- Participate in events and projects organized by POLA.
- Use POLA card, which gives you the opportunity to take the advantage of discounts provided by POLA partners and participate in POLA loyalty programs.
- Be more visible and known both locally and internationally.
- Not only to contribute to the common aim to improve the quality of life of oncological patients and their relatives but also to successfully achieve self-fulfillment.
- Besides directly contributing to the common goal of improving the quality of life of oncology patients and their relatives, successfully realize Yourself.
- Communicate not only on the professional level but also get to know each other and enjoy your leisure time during various events (conferences, seminars, training, etc.).
While aiming its goals, Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA) is engaged in multiple projects.
Everyone willing to contribute to the implementation of POLA activities is welcome to contact POLA Director Neringa Čiakienė.
Being a relatively young organization, POLA has initiated and successfully implemented the project aimed at translating and producing information materials. The project was made possible with the support of the British Embassy and Vilnius Old Town Rotary Club. For the translation of the “A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Cancer’”and “Understanding Cancer Of Unknown Primary” publications from English to Lithuanian, a cooperation agreement was signed with a British organisation Macmillan Cancer Support.
In June 2014, in the Parliament of Northern Ireland POLA and Cancer Choices, an NGO from Northern Ireland, presented results of their successful cooperation: 8 bilingual leaflets on cancer prevention, which were prepared on the basis of Cancer Research UK’s publications. Later on, the information materials were distributed among POLA members and cancer information centres in Lithuania, where they are freely available to all cancer patients and their families.
One of the major projects is the POLA card project, aiming to provide and develop a membership card for POLA community (cancer patients and their family members), also serving as a loyalty and discount card providing a possibility to engage into the programmes of POLA and its partners. The latter includes service and goods providers which had signed cooperation agreements for the benefit of POLA cardholders.
A longterm POLA project aimes to enhance and develop community of cancer patients and comprise different activities related to development of advocacy skills and health literacy competences of cancer patient and their organizations.
POLA will continously put efforts to develop cancer information and support centres and contribute to the establishment of patient support groups across Lithuania. The centres are to provide comprehensive information and support to patients, their families and a variety of regional patient support organisations.
The EU-funded project “EU-CAYAS-NET” will develop a “European Youth Cancer Survivors Network” alongside an interactive virtual platform. The network will foster social networking, peer-support, knowledge-exchange, and aims at improving:
- the quality of life of survivors (including mental health, education & career support, follow-up care and transition),
- the care for adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer, and
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) along the whole treatment and survivorship trajectory.
The activities of the project include peer visits, meetings, training, virtual coworking, social media campaigns, webinars, policy recommendations and national and international events.
Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition POLA will lead the creation and administration of the Platform, including Knowledge Hub & Resource Centre, accessible via mobile and stationary devices and will develop the Platform training program. POLA will also provide administrative and logistic support for several project events and will host 1 event in Lithuania.
Duration: Sept 2022 – Aug 2024
Co-funded by the European Union (Grant Agreement No. 101056918). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EU4Health. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.