BENGALURU: Psycho-social care for cancer patients should be recognised as a fundamental right, said specialists at a conference hosted by HCG- The Specialist in Cancer care on World Mental Health Day.
The specialists said that a 2019 report revealed that cancer patients have a fourfold risk of suicide compared to the general population. “There is also a two-fold increase since a previous study in 2002. The risk is potentially preventable if psychological needs of the patients are met,” experts said. However, there are hardly 25-50 psycho-oncologists in India.
Dr Brindha Sitaram, Group Director, Psycho-oncology Service said, “Cancer brings with it tremendous psychological distress to the victims and their families. Nearly three out of five patients experience severe psychological distress.”
Dr B S Ajaikumar, Chairman & CEO, HealthCare Global Enterprises Limited said, “Cancer care professionals need to address the emotional needs of their patients and refer them to qualified mental health professionals. Early detection of emotional difficulties can lead to a better quality of life.”
A psycho-oncology study group including oncologists, psycho-oncologists, palliative specialists, nurses, medical social workers will come together to impart education and training in the said subject.