Rohilkhand Cancer Institute is one of the premier centres of Pain & Palliative Oncology established in the city of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India. The institute was started with the intention of providing patients with State-of-the-art Pain and palliative Oncology facilities of international standards with comprehensive cancer care at affordable, nominal charges. Pain and palliative care services are designed to focus on the active total care of the person suffering from both cancerous & non-cancerous advanced diseases. prevent and relieve the patient from both physical pain and psychological problems through early identification and assessment. It is not just pain that results in agony for the patients and their caregivers. Very often, there are associated symptoms such as extreme weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea & vomiting, constipation and insomnia. In addition, they have psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, fear of suffering, irritability and even anger. 

What is palliative care?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as, ‘an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing a life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.’

Many are under the assumption that having cancer means one has to suffer pain as well. This is not true. According to international human rights law, relief of pain is a human right and every person should have access to pain relief.

Cancer Pain & Palliative Care

Pain is the most feared complication of cancer. Nearly 30-50% of patients with cancer suffer from pain. But what is really disturbing is that, in patients with terminal or advanced cancer, nearly 75 to 90% suffer from, sometimes unbearable pain. It has been estimated that approximately 80% of patients are diagnosed in the advanced stages of cancer and as many as 10 lakh patients require pain management.

Thus, suffering in patients with cancer is not entirely due to physical pain. Psychological, social and even spiritual issues can also contribute to the suffering of patients with cancer. In fact, physical pain & discomfort are only the tip of the iceberg and only one of the many facets of their suffering. Dame Cicely Saunders, who was the founder of palliative care in the 1960s, first elucidated the concept of ‘total pain’ in patients with cancer. She vividly described the inseparability of physical pain from mental suffering in these patients.

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