Medica launches Eastern India’s first Home-Based Palliative Cancer Care
Kolkata: The Oncology Department of Medica Superspecialty Hospital held a Panel Discussion at the Science City Auditorium marking the occasion of National Cancer Awareness Day. The Oncology Department of Medica announced the launch of home-based palliative cancer care services to cancer patients & became the first facility in Eastern India to offer such services. The launch program & the panel discussion on the “Palliative Care” was attended by several specialty oncologists from Medica including Dr. Sourav Datta, Director of Medica Cancer Projects, Dr. Sudeep Das, Consultant Oncologist, Dr. Sayan Das, Head Radiation Oncologist, and Ms. Arunima Dutta, a Clinical Psychologist. In addition to the medical experts, Mr. Anup Mukherjee, representative of Fight Cancer NGO; Mr. Nilendu Saha, from Kudiram Pathagar Beharampur NGO, Mr. Sadiq Hussain, Writer and the real-life Heroes who have fought cancer and their families who had emerged victorious over all challenges, defied all obstacles, including societal pressures and economic adversities, and still have not called it quits, were also part of the panel discussion. Dr. Subir Ganguly – Senior Consultant of Radiation Oncology, at Medica Superspecialty Hospital served as the event’s moderator.
In his inaugural speech Dr. Sourav Datta, Director of Medica Cancer Projects, Oncology Department, Medica Super Specialty Hospital, stated, “We at Medica Oncology are pleased to welcome you all for the launch of home-based Palliative Cancer Care services. Like every year, this year too, entire India will be celebrating National Cancer Awareness Day tomorrow & simultaneously will continue their fight against cancer. Cancer indeed is a deadly disease & we at Medica Hospital are committed to raising awareness about the importance of early detection and avoiding common lifestyle choices that increase the risk of developing cancer. To restore the hope & trust within us & within every individual battling cancer, we have our real-life heroes & their family members who have fought cancer & emerged victorious over all challenges & still have not lost hope. Apart from them, we have Cancer specialists & representatives from NGO’s who witness cancer patient in their families day & night to share their knowledge on every facet of the challenging fight against cancer. Let us all join in together & fight cancer.”
The term “Palliative Care” refers to the specialized medical care that is delivered by a trained team of physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other medical staff members to provide relief from the symptoms and stress that are brought on by a serious illness like Cancer. Palliative care is typically provided to patients who are in the later stages of their illness and have a limited life expectancy as it affords patients much-needed relief.
The moderator of the event, Dr. Subir Ganguly, Senior Consultant Radiation Oncology, Medica Superspeciality Hospital, averred, ” This year Medica Oncology has taken up Palliative Care as its theme for National Cancer Awareness Day. In India, there are reportedly 2.25 million cancer patients, 1 million new cases annually, and over 0.88 million annual deaths. Each year, over seven million new patients in India require palliative care, but less than four percent have access to these services. Lack of access to palliative care primarily results in poor symptom management, poor quality of life, improper end-of-life care, and an increased financial burden. Patients with terminal cancer are frequently unable to travel to treatment centers for palliative care due to the high cost of transportation and their immobility. Medica Hospital is committed to providing a team of medical experts to assist patients in their own homes.” He further added, “We are very pleased to launch such a service first time in Eastern India. The launch of home-based Palliative care will not only benefit cancer patients from all walks of life but, free treatment facilities for underprivileged patients will also be provided.”
The day-long event which started with a Walkathon in the morning and the interactive session took the viewers through clinically oriented topics ranging from the significance of Palliative Care for Cancer patients to the long-term impact of cancer on the mental health of survivors and caregivers. During the Q&A session with the panel, the representatives from
the NGOs who spoke on their behalf shared information, resources & their experiences with the audience; alongside, Cancer survivors and their family members addressed their personal experiences, focusing on various strategies that helped them remain positive despite the already stressful and difficult encounters of accepting cancer treatment and caring for cancer patients.
Ms. Keya Dey, a cancer survivor from Sodepur had obvious symptoms, and after having a biopsy, the doctors confirmed her worst fears. She was devastated and had given up on leading a healthy and active lifestyle. She did, however, beat cancer after receiving help from medical professionals. She is currently cancer-free and happily enjoying her life.
The writer & photographer Mr. Ayan Choudhury, who is the son of a deceased mother, excelled in his role as a caregiver. He revealed that the hardest part of his life was to see his mother fight against cancer yet lose the battle because of the late diagnosis & age. His teary eyes showcased the love & respect that he has for his mother and that she will forever be a part of him. While his mother was counting the days of her life, he spent his time taking care of her.
Besides the panel discussion, Dr. Sudip Das, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Medica Superspeciality Hospital, who spoke on ‘when not to treat a cancer patient, said, “There is an urgent need to create more resources that facilitate compassionate care, such as the palliative care unit, whether or not the individual is receiving curative treatment. In the case of patients who are nearing the end of their lives, palliative care is a form of treatment that focuses on the patient rather than merely treating their disease.”
Simultaneously, Ms. Arunima Dutta, Clinical Psychologist, Medica Superspeciality Hospital while discussing ‘the impact of trauma on non-medical primary caregivers’ mental health, said, “During the battle against terminal illnesses, particularly cancer, primary caregivers who are not medical professionals frequently experience mental health trauma that goes unrecognized. It is essential to devise methods for coping with the stress that is associated with providing care, and additional professional assistance can be a great source of support.”
Dr. Alok Roy, Chairman of Medica Group of Hospitals, while echoing the thoughts of the panelists, said, “The commitment of Medica to continuously generate value for its patients has resulted not only in effective awareness campaigns but also in the development of accessible infrastructure to improve the quality of care provided to patients who are battling for their lives. From this month onwards, the oncology department of Medica will start providing radiotherapy and home-based palliative care to patients. We are very hopeful that we will be able to assist an even larger demographic of people with our top-of-the-line services.”