New Programme ‘LEA’ Helps Patients and Physicians on Topic of Metastatic Digestive Cancers

January 25, 2022
New Programme ‘LEA’ Helps Patients and Physicians on Topic of Metastatic Digestive Cancers

How does one manage the emotional impact after the announcement of a cancer? This is the question to which ‘LEA – Listen Explain & Act’ program, a project launched by the Servier laboratory, in partnership with DiCE and several other patient associations, aims to provide an answer.

Every day, almost 200 people in Belgium learn that they have cancer. This is the beginning of a marathon of care, and sometimes a fight for life. But all too often, the psychological impact of the disease is relegated to the background: doctors are not sufficiently trained to announce bad news, patients feel helpless, and family members are often overwhelmed by their emotions and those of the patient.

However, taking into account this psychological dimension is essential: several studies have proven that a good accompaniment improves the rate of recovery. Based on these findings, the project team first met with patients to try to identify their needs and then consulted with oncologists and psychologists who confirmed these needs.

After many meetings and discussions, the LEA project was finally born. What has been the objective? To strengthen and improve the psychological support of patients with metastatic digestive cancer. This is a unique program because it is aimed at patients, caregivers and carers.

The LEA program is based on 3 projects – Connect-me, Support-me, Coach-me: one specific project has been developed for each of the types of people concerned for that particular type of psychological support


Is a series of half-day meetings bringing together patients suffering from metastatic digestive cancer, if possible accompanied by their relatives and their onco-nurse. On the program: Presentations by experts (doctors, onco-psychologists, onco-coaches and patients) on topics of interest for the patients followed by moments between patients. A real break in the marathon of care, to take the time to listen to the realities of each person and to free up the word. A first meeting took place last June 15.

Patients, family and nurses were given presentations from:

– Hadi Waelkens, onco-psychologist , UZLeuven (University Hospital Leuven)

– Isabelle Janssens, onco-coach, AZ Alma (General Hospital Alma)

– Stefan Gijssels, colon cancer survivor, Founder and and former CEO of DiCE

The meeting was moderated by Prof. Eric Van Cutsem, Medical Director of Digestive Cancers Europe and Head of Digestive Oncology at UZLeuven (University Hospital Leuven).

The next meeting will be in collaboration with the DiCE Belgian Member FAPA on March 19.


Is LEA’s podcast channel for family carers. In each episode, a witness tells the story of their relationship with the disease.

An intimate and inspiring podcast that invites resilience and offers concrete ways to live the experience of illness as a lever of personal evolution. The team is currently working on six new podcasts ready for release in March.


Is a training program for physicians organized in collaboration the Centre of Medical Simulation of the University of Liège. What is it about? To allow physicians to live these difficult moments with more serenity and alleviate the shock of the announcement for their patients.

This very complete training day mixes moments of pedagogy and simulation workshops on empathy and non-verbal communication for physicians. The next date planned for this is on February 15.

To see the expert presentations, listen to the podcasts and to stay informed and get more information on LEA’s upcoming events, visit the LEA website or please contact us at DiCE for more information.

Catie Young

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