Monaco Age Oncology: The stage for a radical virtual reality treatment for cancer patients

monaco age oncology virtual reality

Virtual reality and its ability to alleviate stress and soothe the minds of cancer patients will be the focus of a fascinating workshop at the upcoming Monaco Age Oncology conference, which takes place later this month. 

In the same way that cancer treatments can be hard on the body, they can be tough for the mind and spirit too. That’s the subject of one of the workshops planned for the 2023 Monaco Age Oncology (MAO) event that will highlight the revolutionary new use of virtual reality in the care of cancer patients at the CHU Lyon Sud and Saint-Étienne Nord. 

The workshop will take place on Thursday 23rd March at 2pm in the Monte-Carlo Congress Centre. There, care givers from the two hospitals will present their experiences and findings alongside a virtual reality simulation, which will give attendees personal insight into how VR could be incorporated into their own practices.  

The concept uses VR headsets with digital stereoscopic technology to whisk the patient away to a different “environment” during treatment.  

As Gilles Freyer, a professor of oncology at the medical oncology departments of the CHU Lyon Sud and Saint-Étienne Nord as well as the president of the Organising Committee of the MAO, explains, “The brain is focused on what it sees and what it hears thanks to the immersive device. The [patient] experiences these sensations and is disconnected from the treatment in progress.” 

It is a thoroughly sensory experience that “provides patients with a state of general relaxation and offers considerable benefit against anxiety”. 

“It provides psychological comfort, which is coupled with real physical effectiveness against nausea,” continues Professor Freyer. “We were also able to measure that the relaxing effects persist several hours after the administration of the treatment.” 

The workshop is open to all participants of the MAO event, which runs between 22nd and 24th March. More information on the conference can be found here.  


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Photo source: Adrian Deweerdt for Unsplash