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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-11

Pain-Like a pinch of salt in a platter

Department of Palliative Care and Pain, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and RC, Delhi, India

Date of Submission29-Oct-2020
Date of Decision10-Nov-2020
Date of Acceptance15-Nov-2020
Date of Web Publication26-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Bablesh Mahawar
Department of Palliative Care and Pain, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and RC, Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_342_20

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How to cite this article:
Mahawar B. Pain-Like a pinch of salt in a platter. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:10-1

How to cite this URL:
Mahawar B. Pain-Like a pinch of salt in a platter. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 21];4:10-1. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2021/4/1/10/312086

“Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”

Rabindranath Tagore

Salt is the seasoning that pulls a dish together and enhances its flavor, but when you sprinkle a little extra, it is distressing. An extra pinch of salt can not only alter the taste but also ruin the dish completely. Pain is that extra pinch of salt for a patient with cancer. It not only causes physical harm but also obliterates our internal identity. Living with chronic pain is often an immense challenge. It affects all dimensions of life by destroying one's self-esteem and has devastating effects on one's confidence, work, relationships, leisure, and family.[1] Pain is associated with sleep discomfort, emotional episodes, increased risk of anxiety, depression leading to mood swings, and irritability.

Being a “palliative care” (PC) specialist, I am privy to the pain of many people. Many budding specialists have revealed to me that they would prefer not to become a palliative specialist as they feel that they cannot deal with tuning into their own agony. However, my perspective is a little different. My learning about palliative medicine has invigorated me and given me more power, a reason to my life, and a deep desire to help the patients experiencing constant chronic cancer pain. Palliative medicine is the artistic work of an old science, where recuperating by empathetic touch satisfies a patient's congruence between his/her expectations of care and perceptions of care received. By actively listening to them and taking care of their symptoms, PC specialists can reduce the patients' additional disease burden, thus improving their quality of life.[2] This specialty focuses not only on the patient but also on the families facing serious illnesses.

Even in the best settings and in the best hands, cancer suffering is not uncommon. Effective control of cancer symptoms has long been one of the most important and pressing issues in oncology and health-care systems because symptoms such as cancer pain dramatically affect the patients and their families. Palliative medicine reminds us that the primary role of medicine is to alleviate pain and suffering, irrespective of whether the disease is curable.

PC helps us initiate clear and sensitive communication with the patients, families, and colleagues by asking open-ended questions to empower the patients and their caregivers to express themselves emotionally and gain more strength from each other.[3],[4] It also helps to imprint their minds with positive reinforcement that their emotions are important, valid, and worthy of attention and expression. It allows us to unlearn the old teachings that pain is always brought about by physical damage or tissue harm. It addresses the social, cultural, spiritual, and existential aspects and offers care to imminently dying patients, including the management of terminal manifestations. It includes several ways to support people coping with cancer and its treatment to live their best possible lives. It is important to not only understand that we do not have the ability to estimate the patients' social, spiritual, and emotional suffering but also to know that this suffering can be relieved; therefore, a genuine endeavor is the need of the hour.

I believe that the patients' sufferings are like pearls in the sea, which enlighten us with the values of life by evading our egos, sensing others' pain, and helping us be a good humans in the true sense. Hence, PC is the bridge between the health-care delivery system and humanity.

It is not imperative to merely live more, yet in addition, living with a good standard and dying with dignity is the key.[5] PC is not just for the patients' last days of life, but it is to be implemented early from the time of diagnosis for better continuity of care.

As we know, cancer has become a huge global threat to human lives, but PC services are accessible to <1% of India's population of 1.2 billion.[6],[7] I believe that continued advocacy of the PC needs of our patients through articles, open discussions, and working together as a multidisciplinary team will help to reduce their disease burden. To conclude, just like salt in a platter, a balance should be commensurate with the pain and suffering of patients with cancer by early amalgamation of PC support in their disease journey. Incessant sensitization programs for the health-care providers and medical staff are required to change their outlook and to understand the significance of PC by empowering solace care of patients with cancer.[8]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bueno-Gómez N. Conceptualizing suffering and pain. Philos Ethics Humanit Med 2017;12:7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Asthana S, Bhatia S, Dhoundiyal R, Labani S P, Garg R, Bhatnagar S. Quality of life and needs of the Indian advanced cancer patients receiving palliative careAssessment of the quality of life, problems, and needs of the advanced cancer patient receiving palliative care. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2019;2:138-44.  Back to cited text no. 2
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Bhat RS, Dighe MD. Health related quality of life and needs speak a global language that seek local solutions. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:116-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Khaddar S. Quality of life in advanced caancer patients. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:117-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
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Rajagopal MR. The current status of palliative care in India. Cancer Control 2015;07:57-62.  Back to cited text no. 6
Salins N. Health-related quality of life: Is it a missing feature in the Indian cancer setting?. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2019;2:213-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
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Khosla D, Patel FD, Sharma SC. Palliative care in India: Current progress and future needs. Indian J Palliat Care 2012;18:149-54.  Back to cited text no. 8
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