The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day (February 4, 2020) is ‘I Am and I Will’, an empowering call for personal commitment to reduce the growing impact of cancer. Palliative care and holistic care is the main treatment for patients with this incurable disease. Relieving physical pain and other bothersome symptoms are central together with efforts against psychological, social, spiritual and existential problems.
“People diagnosed with cancer need more than just treatment – they need to come to terms with their disease and requisite emotional and physical support. This is known as palliative care. When given in a timely manner, it can help in improving the patient’s quality of life and of their families” says Dr Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea.
Palliative care in some cancer patients, when used as a supportive form of therapy in early stages along with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, is also known to prolong life. A diagnosis of cancer is accompanied with associated problems such as depression, anxiety, and fear.
In palliative care, experts counsel and support patients and make referrals to mental health professionals. There are also other things that a patient’s family may need to address including financial and legal issues, or insurance. This is also an area where palliative care specialists assist and help in coordinating with relevant professionals. Last but not the least, through palliative care, cancer patients are guided to come to terms with their condition and are able to make better sense of their thoughts and fears.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today spells out the need to step up cancer services in low and middle-income countries. WHO warns that, if current trends continue, the world will see a 60% increase in cancer cases over the next two decades. The greatest increase (an estimated 81%) in new cases will occur in low – and middle – income countries, where survival rates are currently lowest.