Cancer is a leading cause of death of people around the world and Indian city Hyderabad is dealing with the death of cancer patients reaching the final stage.
Around 20,000-25,000 patients reach the final stage of treatment every month and are considered untreatable by the city’s five or six famous cancer treatment hospitals.
There are estimated cases of 2,000-3,000 HIV and TB (tuberculosis) patients who reach-end stage of treatment each year. These patients in the final stage continue to have multiple health problems and sudden emergencies require medical attention.
The city has only two palliative care centers and one hospice, with a capacity of between 100 and 120 beds. During their last days, critically ill people often experience intolerable pain and sudden complications.
Palliative care centers are important as they provide essentials to reduce pain, emotional stress and help in improving functional aspects of a patient battling with the end-stage of this life-taking disease.
Director MNJ Institute of Cancer, Dr Jayalatha, explaining the requirement said, “The fact that pain killers and sedative drugs like morphine are licensed only for use in palliative care centres, hints at the level of pain these patients experience. Since the disease cannot be treated anymore, in palliative care, only symptoms are managed like fluid fills in abdomen, a nerve burst, and pain.”
He added that around 100 patients coming to the hospital each day reach the end-stage.
Founder of Helping Hand Foundation, Mujtaba Hussain Aksari said, “Despite a huge need for setting up palliative care centres, little attention is paid to the issue, primarily because it’s not profitable to set up such centres, unlike setting up hospitals. There is no doubt that palliative care services need to be ramped up to cater to the demands of increasing the incidence of NCDs. Corporate hospitals have not got into this as palliative care is not a highly profitable business.”
‘Helping Hand Foundation’ is one of the two palliative care centres in the city in association with another NGO.
To reduce the death of cancer patients, especially in the end-stage the government should set up a high-level committee to investigate this issue and plan to set up more centers and hospices for palliative care immediately.
Private hospitals should also come forward and invest in building end-stage facilities for cancer patients.