In India, cancer hospitals are overcrowded and preference is given to those patients whose disease has a scope for control and cure, either through surgery, chemotherapy or radiation or a combination of the three. Several terminally ill cancer patients, on account of poverty, ignorance and total lack of basic facilities, do not receive the required medical and nursing care. The very nature of the disease causes severe pre-terminal and terminal pain and unless the required dosages of medicines are administered continuously in the right quantities and at appropriate intervals, the quality of the remaining life of the patient is very low.
More than 80% of patients come for treatment when the disease has spread to regional nodes or beyond. Lack of awareness, inadequate access to proper diagnostic facilities, sub-optimal economic conditions and fear lead to a large number of patients presenting themselves at an advanced stage of the disease. In fact, in some ways, this stage in the life of the patient is the most critical because he is no longer under active medical (curative) care and has been discharged from a hospital and sent home where no facilities are available to the patient.
Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, in addition to the related psychological, social, and spiritual problems. The goal is not to cure. Palliative care is also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
It is against this background, several corporations can participate and contribute,in association with Karunashraya, in providing palliative care for critically ill cancer patients to make a positive difference in their lives during their last days