Can-Helper, a helpline for cancer patients and their families

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 11, 2020

Cancer patients and their families in Maharashtra can dial in to Can-Helper, a toll-free helpline to provide emotional support to deal with fear, anxiety and stress related to cancer.

Can-Helper is launched by Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Centre and Cipla Palliative Care & Training Centre Pune in association with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Operated by experienced counsellors in English, Hindi and Marathi, the service is available through the week during work-hours (10am -6pm) on 09511948920.

It is said that one in three cancer patients require intervention to address their emotional distress, the most common being anxiety and depression, a note on the initiative said. These psychosocial problems have been exacerbated during the time of Covid-19, due to lack of continuity of care, reduced social support, and increased financial burden from loss of jobs etc, it added.

psychosocial counselling

Dr Badwe, TMC Director, said in a statement, “The Covid -19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on all patients and especially those with serious chronic illnesses including advanced cancer. With this helpline, we hope to address psychosocial counselling needs to reduce the stress and anxiety of the patients and their family members. We will also include patient navigators in this endeavour to retain the continuum of care.”

Rumana Hamied, Trustee with Cipla Palliative Care &Training Centre, said, “We realised the need for such a service when our home care team spoke to patients and families during Covid who told us about their fears of treatment being delayed, worries related to their family members due to lack of nursing care support and a growing sense of isolation and helplessness. We hope that callers to the helpline will be better equipped with resources, strategies and confidence to cope in these uncertain times”.

Published on August 11, 2020

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