Pioneering palliative care for cancer patients in India
Transparent. Ethical. Fair. Committed.
CanSupport has pioneered palliative care at home for people with advanced and terminal cancer in North India for over 21 years.
At its inception in 1997, CanSupport was treating 6 patients. Today, more than 2,300 patients and their families are receiving high quality medical, nursing, and psycho-social care free of charge. Furthermore, over 80,000 people have benefitted from our telephone helpline service established to provide additional support to patients and family members.
CanSupport Offerings (all are provided free of charge):
- In-home palliative care (including pain relief, nursing support, and counseling); 24/7 telephone connection to care team available outside of visiting hours
- Rehabilitation program for patients & family members
- Out-patient clinic
- Daycare program
- Peer support group meetings
- Confidential telephone helpline (offers emotional support and referrals to CanSupport services)
- Training workshops
Harmala Gupta, the founder was diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin’s disease (a cancer of the lymphatic system) in Toronto, Canada, while studying for her Ph.D. in 1986-87. She was at that time unable to submit her thesis due to her illness. When Harmala returned to India, she was surprised by the underdeveloped state of palliative care in the country. Hundreds of Indians are diagnosed with cancer every day, and almost 80% are terminal with nowhere to go once their cancer treatments fail. In response, Harmala started CanSupport in 1996 to provide home-based palliative care to people with advanced and terminal cancer. The focus was on the poor and indigent which is why the service is free of charge. When the home care service began, palliative care was hardly known in India, even within the medical community. There were no doctors, nurses or counsellors trained in palliative care. Obtaining a license for oral morphine, a drug of choice for unremitting cancer pain, took nearly 5 years to get. It was a hard struggle but ultimately worth it.
Recent Accomplishment: CANSUPPORT ENTERS PUNJAB
CanSupport launched its first outstation team in Amritsar in Punjab on November 13th, 2017. The team comprises a doctor, counsellor, nurse and is supported by a networking officer. The second team started its operations on November 1st, 2018.
A statement from CanSupport:
“With people living longer and with changes in lifestyle we are witnessing a rise in non-communicable diseases, with cancer at the top of the list. Presently, in India, people with life limiting and debilitating illnesses have very limited access to palliative care as it is yet to become part of the medical and nursing curricula as well as part of general health care delivery. We have to make the switch and realize that it is no longer a question of just extending lives but making sure that these lives are lived with quality and dignity.
We are proud to be pioneering this care in India and are grateful for the support we receive in terms of donations and encouragement from both home and abroad. It is our dream at CanSupport to have a place where we can bring in our patients for respite care and give their families a well deserved break. We shall be grateful to anyone who would like to contribute to this project which is part of our Five Year Plan looking forward.”