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AIIMS cancer centre turns pain-free

The Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has introduced pain management techniques for patients fighting the killer disease, reports Rhythma Kaul.
By Rhythma Kaul | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 09, 2009 11:25 PM IST

The Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital (ICRH) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has introduced pain management techniques for patients fighting the killer disease.

The hospital gets about 3000 new cancer patients every year. “If world over cancer patients are benefiting through the pain management techniques, then why not in our country,” said IRCH chief Dr G.K. Rath.

According to a new policy, all cancer patients who come to IRCH will be put on morphine—oral or through injection. “Morphine is the most effective drug used to kill the excruciating pain among cancer patients in India and we give it to all our patients who complain even the slightest of pain. Why wait till they reach the end stage of the disease, when you can relieve the pain early,” said Dr Sushma Bhatnagar, associate professor at IRCH. AIIMS is the only government-run hospital in Delhi that has a substantial stock of morphine available free of cost for cancer patients.

The step has been taken as part of WHO’s pain management exercise.

According to WHO figures, about 80 per cent of patients in advanced stages of the disease are untreatable and need to be put on painkillers. And about 80 per cent of those untreatable patients are put on oral morphine. The remaining need their dose injected directly into the spinal cord to maximize the effect and minimize the side-effects.

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