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Medical advice

The medical advice section is available for patients and their families for guidance and online medical consultations related to leukaemia or other haematological malignancies.

Before posting a query, please read the answers to the frequently asked questions you can find on this page. There are 2 key topics to highlight:

The MEDICAL ADVICE offered by the Foundation do not constitute a second medical opinion, we simply offer guidance and advice to patients and their families.

The Foundation does not offer FINANCIAL SUPPORT to pay for individual treatments, nor does it have access to pharmaceutical products.

We will go on to address these topics, among others, in more detail.

A second opinion is a well regulated medical act that requires a personal assessment of the patient and all studies deemed necessary to ultimately issue a written opinion.

Of course, this function cannot be undertaken by our doctor consultation department, which simply provides patients and their families guidance and advice online.

You should also be aware that, by law, all Autonomous Communities are required to offer a regulated and controlled administrative channel via which to officially request a second opinion. Additionally, some insurance companies offer a second opinion service.

Here you can take a look at some of the resources available in the different autonomous communities:

Andalusia, Aragón, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-la Mancha, Castilla and León, Catalonia, Community of Madrid, Murcia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Navarre, Basque Country and the Valencian Community.

The Josep Carreras Foundation cannot respond to individual requests for financial support. The best way for the institution to try to help all people suffering from this disease is to dedicate all its resources to scientific research and the search for unrelated donors for patients who require a transplant and do not have a compatible family member.

Neither the Foundation nor the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute have the facilities available to see/visit patients, as they are not healthcare centres. Our main focus is research surrounding blood diseases, searching for compatible bone marrow donors for patients in need of a transplant, and information and guidance for patients and relatives.

We are more than happy to answer all your queries, clarify doubts and guide you in your process or that of your family member, but please remember that our answers are not an alternative to the information provided by the doctors who care for the patient directly, as ours will never be as complete nor realistic. Therefore, in cases where a specific patient or relative asks us systematically about each of the evolutionary steps of their process, unfortunately, we are obliged to stop and redirect them to their doctor.

In cases where a haematological disease cannot be controlled with common treatments and a clinical trial is required, your doctors will generally inform you of the trials that may be available to you and at which centres they are being undertaken. As it is not a medical centre, the Josep Carreras Foundation does not offer clinical trials.

Take into account that:

1)  In the event that a clinical trial is deemed appropriate for your case, you will be required to provide  complete clinical documentation  and complete various administrative procedures to change centre, which is key if the trial is undertaken in a different autonomous community. This is why the involvement of your treatment centre is required.

2)  It makes little sense to undertake the usual ‘pilgrimages’ in search of an appropriate trial, as these searches often end up in foreign centres that accept all types of patients (regardless of the chances of a successful outcome), as long as they can pay the astronomical sum of money they request.

3)  If a drug that is part of a clinical trial has shown a minimum level of effectiveness, a centre somewhere in the country will be using it. The Agencia Española del Medicamento website compares all the active trials. You can also consult them on the SEHH website.

There is nothing more complex than advising a patient undergoing chemotherapy treatment, or who has received a haematopoietic transplant, on what dietary guidance they should follow. This is because this guidance can vary from one patient to another, depending on their food tolerance, the treatment they have undergone and are undergoing and, ultimately, the extent to which their body’s defences have recovered.

This is why only the doctor who is treating the patient can give an accurate answer regarding the recommended diet.

However, our blog offers patients a series of general recommendations. Remember to always consult your doctor as to whether or not these apply to your case. On this page you will also find links to other websites for international entities, in Spanish.

In Spain, access to medication depends on the type of drug. The different types are:

1)  Hospital dispensed drugs: these can only be obtained at the hospital itself and by the patients treated there.

2)  Pharmaceuticals dispensed by prescription (the vast majority): They can be obtained from the pharmacy if prescribed by a doctor.

3)  Drugs available over the counter from a pharmacy.

Therefore, generally speaking, when a drug is requested from us due to shortages in the patient’s country, it corresponds to one of the first two groups. As our Foundation is not a healthcare centre, we do not treat patients nor do we have access to pharmaceutical products.

The Spanish Health System has several tertiary level hospitals distributed across the country. Each centre has a Haematology Service prepared to treat any type of haematological disease.

Although some have focused their attention on specific pathologies or procedures and others have extensive experience due to the large volume of patients they treat, they are all able to treat and manage patients with the most common pathologies. This is why we always recommend that patients with queries in this aspect go to the tertiary level University Hospital closest to their home.

Chemotherapy consists of the use of medications that destroy leukaemia cells. You can find all the information in the “Chemotherapy” section of our website.

You can find all the information in the “Transplant” section of our website.

You can find all the information in the “Biological therapies (immunotherapies)” section of our website.

You can find all the information in the “Biological therapies (immunotherapies)” section of our website.

The Josep Carreras Foundation works with Spanish hospitals authorised by the health system to undertake bone marrow transplants and with the foreign donor registries to offer volunteer donors for patients in need of a transplant.

Our Foundation manages the Spanish Bone Marrow Donors Registry (REDMO), created to tend to patients treated in hospitals pertaining to the Spanish health system and who are in need of a volunteer donor, as there is no ideal donor in their family.

Our registry is connected globally with all the countries around the world with a similar registry (you can consult them via the WMDA). This enables us to search for bone marrow for Spanish patients and offer donors for foreign patients from countries with a registry.

The REDMO donor registry pertaining to the Carreras Foundation offers the possibility for those Latin American countries without a registry to undertake a search. The only conditions required are that the donor search request be undertaken by the centre (never by the families) that is going to undertake the transplant, and for said centre to have proven sufficient experience in this type of procedure. 

The Josep Carreras Foundation has an informative video about how REDMO undertakes an international bone marrow donor search, step by step.

The Josep Carreras Foundation is not a hospital centre , so we do not tend to patients directly. Our entity works with public hospitals in Spain and foreign bone marrow donor registries to offer voluntary donors to patients who require a transplant. The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Foundation manages the Bone Marrow Donor Registry, which was created in order to tend to patients treated at hospitals in the Spanish public health system and who are in need of a volunteer donor. Our registry is connected globally with all the countries around the world with a similar registry. This enables us to search for bone marrow for Spanish patients and offer donors for foreign patients from countries with a registry.

In Spain, the public health system covers the treatment for patients of Spanish nationality. For this reason, it is incredibly difficult for an international patient to receive treatment in a Spanish public hospital at no cost, as a special authorisation is required.

If you wish to request a transfer request to a Spanish hospital, your doctor and the management of the treatment hospital (in no case the patient or family member) must formalise this request directly to the International Cooperation departments pertaining to the Governments of the Autonomous Communities in which the main hospitals providing treatment for leukaemia or other haematological malignancies are located, and attach a document from the Ministry of Health in your country agreeing for the treatment to not take place in your country:

► Community of Madrid Health Cooperation Management:

► International Relations and Health Cooperation Area of the Government of Catalonia Department of Health:

Regarding your query, please note that, unfortunately, the Josep Carreras Foundation cannot offer financial support for individualised treatment. As our Foundation is not a healthcare centre, we do not treat patients nor do we have access to pharmaceutical products. Funding individualised treatments for patients is NOT our mission.

We do not recommend contacting Spanish hospitals directly, as the local health authority is responsible for the prior authorisation of the treatment requested for foreign patients excluded from the Spanish health system, who should request each case following the established procedure. We do not advise travel to Spain without authorisation, as the current regulations may not allow access to treatment due to its significant financial cost.

Do you have any more questions?

This is a secure area. All the information exchanged via this page is secure.

Personal data shared in this consultation will not be added to an automated file pertaining to the Josep Carreras International Foundation. The information provided during this consultation will only remain available to the Foundation for the time deemed necessary in order to respond to the query, and will be treated with maximum confidentiality at all times.

These queries will be handled by qualified medical professionals linked to the organisation’s medical management. However, the answer to these queries is merely informative and does not constitute a medical assessment nor diagnosis of any kind. Neither the Foundation nor the doctor assume responsibility for the use the recipient makes of the answers provided.

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* In accordance with Law 34/2002 on Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce (LSSICE), the Josep Carreras Leukemia Foundation informs that all medical information available on has been reviewed and accredited by Dr. Enric Carreras Pons, Member No. 9438, Barcelona, ​​Doctor in Medicine and Surgery, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Specialist in Hematology and Hemotherapy and Senior Consultant of the Foundation; and by Dr. Rocío Parody Porras, Member No. 35205, Barcelona, ​​Doctor in Medicine and Surgery, Specialist in Hematology and Hemotherapy and attached to the Medical Directorate of the Registry of Bone Marrow Donors (REDMO) of the Foundation).

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