1 out of 4 oncologists willing to include palliative care within treatment protocols: Survey

Findings from the Oncologist Survey conducted by Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre, Pune suggest early integration of palliative care is crucial

New Delhi: The Cipla Palliative Care & Training Centre Pune conducted an online survey with 200 oncologists across India in early January 2021. The survey was conducted to understand how palliative care is perceived by oncologists and their thoughts on its early integration into oncotherapy. Oncologists across Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, West Bengal and other states participated in the survey.
Some of the key findings that emerged from the survey were:
  • 57% believe that palliative care includes comprehensive physical, social, and emotional care of patients and caregivers- and that it is not just management of physical pain.
  • 28% believe that palliative care services should be provided at the time of diagnosis.
During the survey, some of the major challenges in palliative care services highlighted by oncologists were lack of awareness amongst patients and caregivers about palliative care services and lack of trained personnel to provide palliative care services. The findings from the survey suggest that oncologists recognize that palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.
Talking about the survey, Dr Anil D’Cruz, current President of the Union of International Cancer Control said, “There is enough data to establish early integration of palliative care into the treatment of advanced cancers. It’s the time we address the challenges associated with the lack of universal acceptance of palliative care.  Oncologists must understand its benefits and include palliative care early in the treatment algorithm of advanced cancers. This requires a collaborative approach of education of healthcare professionals through upskilling as well as access and augmentation of palliative care facilities.”
Cipla Palliative care is working towards the early integration of palliative care for better outcomes. It strongly advocates that by integrating it into the healthcare system, we can achieve holistic wellbeing for communities, avert catastrophic expenditure and address unnecessary suffering. Palliative Care puts the patient at the center, not the disease.
World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with 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.
” When palliative care is introduced at an earlier stage, it has the potential to transform total health care. There is inadequate exposure to palliative care in oncology training and this needs to be addressed to ensure palliative care has better acceptance and its importance at early stage integration is recognized.” said Rumana Hameid, Managing Trustee Cipla Foundation
Cipla Palliative Care & Training Centre recently did a campaign called #AshaHamesha Campaign as a part of World Cancer Day to take the message of improving quality of life of patients and caregivers through various training programs, capacity building initiatives and volunteering programs.