Cancer of any kind, in any part of the world, is a travesty.
It is particularly problematic in India where more than 80% of cancers are diagnosed late.
And to have cervical cancer is nothing short of a tragedy. The intersectionality of cancer, gender and low-resource settings causes unparalleled suffering.
To distill down just a few of the issues around this disease:
Women are discriminated against and are denied timely treatment in our society. Cervical cancer affects women in their sexual organs, which makes it a disease veiled in lethal silence. The already poor health-seeking behaviour of women is further exacerbated. Women eventually seek help when the condition is beyond help. Advanced cervical cancer often causes malodorous discharge and bleeding, which can trigger shame, humiliation, isolation and severe distress. The pain associated with cervical cancer can be especially difficult to control due to its location – an area replete with sensitive nerve endings.
Evidence indicates that upto 45% of women with the disease are abandoned by their partners.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that, paradoxically, this disease is almost completely preventable by vaccinating adolescent girls, but India does not yet have a comprehensive immunisation program in this context. This kind of cancer is almost completely curable if detected and treated early.
And yet, India has approximately 120,000 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed annually, and bears about a fifth of the global burden.
It is a systemic failure on a colossal level that allows this kind of suffering to run riot unabated.
On the 16th of June 2021, Smriti Rana and Dr M R Rajagopal from Pallium India joined the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss this issue with the aim to seek solutions.
Any issue that causes so much suffering to our own, is something that all of us should be concerned about.
You can watch the proceedings at: Cervical Cancer Elimination series – Estimating and responding to the suffering of women with cervical cancer | WHO-UICC
A shot in the arm
Finally, we met up with a light at the end of the tunnel. Our non-ambulant patients are getting vaccinated against Covid-19. Thank you, Government of Kerala, for this initiative and for giving us the opportunity to work with you on this. In the last week, our team has been joining the staff at Community Health Centre to reach home-bound people. This is gratifying.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s 2nd Annual U.S. Celebration of World Hospice & Palliative Care Day: A Virtual Coming Together: October 5 & 6, 2021
Pallium India’s Programmes Director Smriti Rana is a speaker at this event. She will be speaking on “Palliative Care for Health Equity: Snapshots from India”.
The program is focused on the care of seriously ill patients and is appropriate for national and international health care workers including and not limited to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, chaplains, psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists, and patient advocates regardless of specialty palliative care or oncology experience.
The complete brochure can be downloaded from the website. http://www.mskcc.org/whpcd
Colleagues residing in low- and middle-income countries, as well as students/trainees in need of complimentary registration, can email Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at email@example.com and they will be provided a code for free registration. No one will be excluded due to inability to pay.
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. This year World Hospice and Palliative Day falls on Saturday, October 9, 2021.
This year’s theme is: “Leave no-one behind – equity in access to palliative care“
Know more about the day and how you can get involved: http://www.thewhpca.org/world-hospice-and-palliative-care-day
Web-based Pain Management Education Program for Oncologists
It is seven years now since the World Health Assembly 67 asked for integration of palliative care into all healthcare, across the continuum of care (from the beginning of the illness to the end).
In a step towards accomplishing this goal, National Cancer Grid (NCG) and Pallium India have joined hands to offer a virtual course on pain management to oncologists. 45 oncologists from all over India got together to learn pain management strategies and the procedures to access opioids like oral morphine. They will now be able to integrate pain management into their practice. With pain relief, compliance to cancer treatment would improve, quality of life would be better for the patient and family, and outcome will improve. Imagine, what a substantial reduction in burden of suffering in India is this likely to lead to!
Thank you Dr Aju Mathew for your leadership, and thank you Dr C S Pramesh of NCG for the partnership.
See what some participants had to say about the course:
“This program precisely addresses unmet needs in clinical practice. Though the program covers multiple topics, it is interactive and gives ample time to clear most basic doubts in congenial atmosphere. I am sure; I will be more confident, rational and scientific in pain management after this course.”
Consultant, Head & Neck Oncology, Andhra Pradesh
“This entire program and the sessions were really great, very informative and concise. They have immensely helped in improving the day-to-day practice in cancer OPD specially the communication skills and understanding the importance of holistic approach in cancer patients.”
Radiation Oncologist, Govt Medical College and Hospital, Patiala, Punjab
“It is a useful program catering to in-depth knowledge of pathophysiology of pain, psycho-social, pharmacological and clinical aspects of pain. Resource persons were knowledgeable and discussions were good. Strict adherence to time limit was followed. On the whole, well organized training program”
Senior Resident, Department of Surgical oncology, Madya Pradesh
“The Program is very useful especially for beginners as me for what are the pain medications, how effective they are, when and what conditions it should be prescribed etc. knowledge. Course was comprehensive. Cleared doubts especially for opioids. Also learned about procedure for RMI status which is most important thing.”
Senior Resident, Department of Surgical Oncology, Madhya Pradesh
Upcoming Trainings in palliative care
- August 6, 2021: Online Foundation Course in Palliative Care (FCPC) for any graduate interested to work in health care.
- September 1, 2021: Online Foundation Course in Palliative Medicine (FCPM) for doctors.
- September 2, 2021: Online Foundation Course in Palliative Nursing (FCPN) for nurses.
Check out all our upcoming events: https://palliumindia.org/events
For more information on any of these, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us for palliative care news, views and updates – as & when they happen
Kuttikkoottam 2021 get-together
“Very excited to be a part of the event. I enjoyed the games and the other programmes. Thanks to Pallium India team for organizing it.”
“Grateful to Pallium India for organizing this event. I am looking forward to the next one already.”
“Glad to have participated in the Kuttikkoottam get-together. I was especially happy to see everyone again. The online games were fun. Kuttikkoottam gives us enjoyment as well as knowledge.”
Kuttikkoottam (kids collective – a children’s group from families of patients under Pallium India’s care) online get-together of children was conducted on June 27, 2021 via zoom. Around 60 students and their mentors (who are Pallium India’s volunteers) participated. The children showcased their talents including music, dance, drawing, etc. Project Management Institute (PMI) Kerala provided an exciting session with games for the children. Jaya G Nair, (Retd Engineer, VSSC) was the chief guest.
Pallium India’s volunteers and staff work with around 300 children in this group to do what we can to ensure their welfare and they, in turn, share with us their enthusiasm and creativity, adding meaning to our lives. We must thank all our donors who enable this work and recently gifted smart phones to those children who desperately needed them for their online classes.
Every year during the summer vacation in April-May, we used to conduct three-day residential camps for the children. This used to be a much-awaited event; but the pandemic prevented it in 2020 and 2021. We hope that the online events have brought at least a little fun and colour to their lives. Judging by their enthusiasm and excitement, we feel we should do this more often.
Our gratitude to everyone who has supported us in these activities.
Guidelines and Suggestions for those Starting a Hospice/Palliative Care Service
International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) announces the publication of the third edition of “Getting Started: Guidelines and Suggestions for those Starting a Hospice/Palliative Care Service” by Dr. Derek Doyle.
Dr. Doyle stated: How often one meets someone who says: “We are determined to start a new hospice or palliative care service but don’t know where to start? We all wish there was something somewhere where we could learn what to do and what not to do, written by people who have been through all this. We must get it right.”
Getting Started is available at no charge as a service to the global palliative care community in both HTML (by sections) and as a downloadable PDF book.
Video of the Month
Dying is not as bad as you think – Dr Kathryn Mannix
Click here to watch the video: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ideas/videos/dying-is-not-as-bad-as-you-think/p062m0xt/player
Subscribe to Pallium India’s youtube channel for videos related to palliative care and our activities. You can watch previous webinars and training sessions, as well as listen to caregivers, survivors and others sharing their experiences.
Please note! Bank details have changed for foreign donations:
Account Name: Pallium India Trust
Bank: State Bank of India (code: 00691)
Account No: 40098265669
IFSC Code: SBIN0000691
SWIFT Code: SBININBB104
College students come to the aid of dialysis patients
NSS unit students of the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, who are part of the Student Initiative in Palliative Care (SIP) units, in association with the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) has launched Prathyasha 2.0, an initiative that provides financial help to dialysis patients in distress.
The concept was originally launched in 2019 by Babu Abraham, senior advocacy manager and Abubaker Siddique, community organiser of charitable trust Pallium India. Read the complete article in The New Indian Express >>
IAHPC Photography Contest 2021
The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) invites members to participate in the 2021 IAHPC Photo Contest.
The deadline to submit your photos is August 31, 2021. The winners will be announced at the end of September. Click here to know more and to enter.
Congratulations, Dr Naveen Salins
Pallium India is so very pleased that our friend Dr. Naveen Salins, Professor & Head of Palliative Medicine at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal has been conferred the position of Honorary Professor of Medicine at Cardiff University, UK.
Dr Naveen Salins, an academician and palliative medicine teacher of great repute, has been so very supportive to us in Pallium India. He used to travel by overnight train from Bangalore for 16 hours each way to teach at our courses in Trivandrum because we could not afford to pay him air fare. Later he became so busy that he could not afford the time to travel anymore. Nevertheless from where he is, he lends immeasurable support. Recently, he and his colleagues Drs Seema Rao, Pankaj Singhai, Kritika Rao and Mayank Gupta spent endless hours creating teaching modules for us.
We rejoice with you in your success, Dr Naveen Salins.
To know more about these openings and to apply, visit: https://palliumindia.org/category/career
Snehaanchal Hospice and Palliative Care Centre, Nagpur, a 15-year old institution providing Hospice & Palliative Care, invites applications to the post of:
Snehaanchal is a 15-bedded Hospice & Palliative Care Center based at Nagpur, Maharashtra, that has been in operation since 2006. Snehaanchal works in collaboration with Govt. Medical College and the local Regional Cancer Center. It also delivers home-based Palliative Care to about 100 patients.
Nominate your nurse of the year
International Journal of Palliative Nursing invites nominations for an award to recognise a nurse who has made a substantial difference to the experience of individuals in the palliative and end-of-life care phase.
Please submit no more than 300 words describing what the nurse has done to deserve the award. Your nomination should be received by 31st July 2021 latest, and should be sent to Laura Glenny: email@example.com
‘Long Covid’ and Mental Health
Despite vaccines and a decrease in disease prevalence, some people experience what scientists call COVID-19 anxiety syndrome. Its symptoms mimic those of other mental health conditions, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Pooja Priyamvada writes for Rising Kashmir >>
Mental Health & Palliative Care: Our experience during a humanitarian crisis – By Chitra Venkateswaran, MD, published in IAHPC Newsletter, June 2021
Palliative Care – a series: “It’s better that you kill me” – By Pouruchisti Wadia, Associate Program Director, Romila Palliative Care at SNEHA
Also by Pouruchisti Wadia:
Communication – the cement that binds
“Sometimes sharing silence with a
grieving person is all that we can do as doctors. The pacifying effect of silence during
profound grief is often underestimated and underutilized. Remaining silent and respecting the
non-reactive detached grieving family member is a sign of maturity and empathy.”
Dr Aneesh Basheer narrates how silence can sometimes be the commiserating voice for the grieving, during this pandemic.