Can-Helper: India’s First Toll-Free Emotional Support Helpline For Cancer Patients And Their Families

Cancer Helpline COVID Pune
Share this News:

Pune, August 14, 2020: Cancer patients and their families in Maharashtra can now dial in to Can-Helper – a first-of-its-kind toll-free helpline to provide support for fear, anxiety and stress related to cancer. This service, operated by experienced counsellors, is available on a toll free number 09511948920 on all days of the week from 10 am to 6 pm in English, Hindi and Marathi.

Whilst cancer impacts the emotional well-being of all patients, it is estimated that one out of every three cancer patients require interventions to address their emotional distress- the most common problems being anxiety and depression. These psychosocial problems have become even more acute in Coronavirus disease (COVID19) pandemic due to lack of continuity of care, reduced social support, increased financial burden from loss of jobs etc.

Can-Helper (Cancer Helpline for Emotional Respite) is launched by Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai and Cipla Palliative Care & Training Centre Pune in association with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to address the specific psychosocial needs of cancer patients and their caregivers, especially those in advanced stage of the disease.

Talking about the service, Dr Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre said, “The COVID19 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 endeavor to retain the continuum of care ” Psychosocial support has been identified as vital in decreasing the levels of stress, anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

Speaking about this initiative, Rumana Hamied, Trustee, Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre said, “We realised the need for such a service when our home care team spoke to patients and families during COVID19 pandemic 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.”