About this Video
Cancer pain and palliative care experts discuss the imperative for effective cancer pain control globally. Professor David Hill (Australia), Dr Kathleen Foley (USA), Dr Eva Rossina Duarte Juarez (Guatemala), Dr Mark Boughey (Australia) and Carmen (Australia) provide notable quotes:
“Studies in a number of countries have shown when you ask people what disease worries them most if they thought they had it, cancer is streets ahead of anything else,” reports Professor David Hill (Australia).
Over 12 million people are likely to be diagnosed with cancer this year alone and 7 million will die of the disease. Cancer kills more people than AIDS and tuberculosis combined.
“There are at least 5 million people who die of cancer each year with untreated pain,” states Dr Kathleen Foley (USA). “We think this is an underestimate of pain in the world because there are 12 million survivors of cancer, people living with cancer, and we know about a third of them experience pain.”
Dr Eva Rossina Duarte Juarez (Guatemala) agrees that cancer is indeed painful. “In the situation of advanced illnesses, people need to be able to die in peace.”
Breast cancer patient Carmen (Australia) reflects that she doesn’t fear death however she did fear the essential medications designed to treat her cancer pain. “I had a lot of pain on every level, whether it was physical or emotional.”
Dr Mark Boughey (Australia) of Caritas Christi Hospice in Melbourne explains, “When Carmen got here pain was the big issue… She had that really problematic neuropathic pain so you couldn’t even touch her skin without her screaming and being distressed.”
“This problem is very much with us, it’s a global problem, but also there are things we can do to bring the escalating problem of cancer under control,” Professor David Hill.
Carmen reflects that professional treatment of her pain brought back her sanity and quality of life. “I’m very blessed to have had this opportunity … I’ve had really good care.”
Call to Action
- Invite an oncologist and an oncology nurse you know to watch this video
- Then ask them how they improve cancer pain management in your community
- Share your experiences in the comments section below…
- 60% of patients dying with cancer will experience moderate to severe cancer pain, Stjernsward et al, The Public Health Strategy for Palliative Care, J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007 May;33(5):486-93. (open access)
- GLOBOCAN: Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide
- UICC World Cancer Declaration, Targets by 2020 include: ‘Effective pain control measures will be available universally to all cancer patients in pain’
- UICC GAPRI: Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative
- EPEC-Oncology, Module 2, Cancer Pain
- IAHPC – WPCA Palliative Care and Pain Treatment as Human Rights