Rheumatism Medical and Regional Network Association

Head director

Sonosuke Yukawa

Sonosuke Yukawa
Rheumatism is no longer an incurable disease.

Therapeutic technology for rheumatism has showed rapid progress over the last decade or so. Rheumatism was once known as an incurable disease that would dramatically change a patient’s life. Many different therapies were developed. Today, remission has become commonplace and even a complete cure is no longer entirely a dream. On the other hand, the majority of the people are uninformed about the facts. Rheumatism affects around 80 million people worldwide. To allow these patients to lead better lives, we would first like to make changes in Japan. We will train rheumatologists and convey correct information to people to contribute to the world.

Year of Birth
1975
Birthplace
Tokyo
Name
Rheumatism Medical and Regional Network Association
Headquarters
Yukawa Rheumatology Clinic, 3F, Santo Building, 3-14-6 Kyonacho, Misashino, Tokyo
Founded
2016
Type of business
Collection, disclosure and dissemination of information about rheumatism treatment systems
url
https://www.ra-net.or.jp/
I decided to become a rheumatologist as a medical intern. One day, I saw a rheumatic patient in her 20s. It was difficult for her to take something out of her bag because of the rapid progression of deformation in her fingers. Rheumatism was considered to be an intractable disease at that time. Imagining her future, I felt concerned while anticipating possible difficulties for her relationships, marriage and childbirth. I really felt that rheumatism greatly affected a patient’s life stages.

I wanted patients to reclaim their lives as much as possible, which is why I decided to become a rheumatologist. In 2015, I opened the clinic to support patients with rheumatism in the community. I believe it is most important that patients are reassured before leaving my clinic. I manage my clinic in a way that all staff, including physicians and receptionists, treat the patients like family members or loved ones. Why is Disneyland Park so popular? One of the reasons may be the sense of value shared by the staff. We would like to serve our patients in a similar way so our clinic will be able to comfort patients.

Treatment for rheumatism has greatly advanced. Thanks to effective therapeutic drugs, patients with rheumatism are mostly capable of living normal lives. However, many are unaware of the current situation and receive conventional treatment. Some have to quit their jobs or require continuous nursing care. Because the number of rheumatologists is limited, specialists tend to work at the center of cities, and there are many differences in treatment procedures among medical institutes. To improve this situation, I am trying to provide information for citizens and patients. Physicians working at university hospitals are too busy seeing their patients, looking after trainee physicians and doing research to educate the general public. As a practicing doctor who is also a community doctor, I have the mission of providing people with correct information.

I founded the Rheumatism Medical and Regional Network Association on June 16, 2016, to contribute to the collection, disclosure and dissemination of information on rheumatism treatment systems. We launched a website dedicated to rheumatology and regularly hold seminars for citizens. Last year we created a movie themed on rheumatism to easily share information with more people. Now, we have found that little by little more people have a correct understanding of rheumatism.

There are approximately 800,000 patients with rheumatism in Japan. Information about the disease has not even been disseminated on such a small island nation, despite the national health insurance system. While many people cannot pay for medical services in other countries, luckily in Japan there is a choice about which medical institute to visit and lower cost for healthcare services. The current issues will be solved if we continue our activities in this country.

I would like to help patients find the best medical institutes by spreading information among citizens and patients. You cannot tackle global problems in a world where there are 80 million patients with rheumatism unless you can solve domestic issues. If you want to call Japan a developed country, we must ensure that everyone has correct information about rheumatism and eliminate any differences among medical institutes. I will continue to make efforts to achieve this.

Sonosuke Yukawa
Sonosuke Yukawa

*Information accurate as of time of publication.

Rheumatism Medical and Regional Network Association

Head director
Sonosuke Yukawa