New pain relief guidelines for cancer patients at AIIMS

January 9th, 2009 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) With only three percent cancer patients receiving pain management care in India, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has launched a no-pain policy to provide immediate relief to such patients.The institute has adopted new pain relief guidelines with interventional therapies that are likely to provide relief to cancer patients from the chronic pain.

Through interventional therapies, the medication is surgically placed under the skin of the abdomen to deliver it directly to the fluid-filled area surrounding the spinal cord that carries pain signals to the brain.

“About 75-85 percent cancer patients with chronic pain can be treated with oral morphine. However, some 10-15 percent patients react to morphine treatment and these interventional therapies can be boon for them,” said Sushma Bhatnagar, professor for pain and palliative care at the Cancer Hospital of AIIMS.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 25 percent of cancer patients in the world die due to unrelieved pain and new guidelines are likely to acknowledge and manage chronic pain.

According to Bhatnagar, when a patient gets excessive side effects with oral morphine it is reasonable to directly target the spinal cord that carries pain signals to brain, thus providing an immediate relief.

“The interventional therapies provide sustained pain control, less drug-related toxicity and possibly better survival for cancer patients,” said G.K Rath, head of Cancer Hospital.

To make the medical fraternity across country aware about cancer pain management, the AIIMS is organising a three-day seminar “Freedom from Pain” starting Feb 13.

“The seminar will provide opportunities to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to have a good overview of pain management,” Rath added.

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