PSYCHO ONCOLOGY
INTRODUCTION

Two & half decades ago, seven likeminded philanthropists started a psychosocial service to cancer patients at the Cancer Institute through the support group 'SANCTUARY'. Later, in 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of the Government of India supported the Cancer Institute (WIA) in establishing the Tobacco Cessation Center (TCC), which offers psychological therapies for tobacco de-addiction by trained psychologists. Likewise, in 2002, with the WHO's initiative, a palliative care clinic was created at the Cancer Institute (WIA) where a psychologist started offering therapy to ease the suffering and enhance the quality of life (QOL) of patients at an advanced stage of the disease along with the medical team. In recent years, more scientific research in the field of psycho-oncology has been initiated at the Cancer Institute along with other clinical departments. Moreover, educational and training activities were also started.


Studies on the coping preferences of head & neck cancer patients and the standardization of a QOL Questionnaire and Psychological intervention to improve Quality of Life of Head & Neck cancer patients have been carried out. In 2003 the assessment of the neuro-cognitive sequelae of children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia was started. Currently the department offers Ph.D., & M. Phil. courses in Psycho-oncology. The department provides psycho-social support to the cancer patients at the institute and organizes support group meetings through which group counseling is offered for different sets of patients. The department also undertakes many initiatives for the primary prevention of cancer among the youth and public. Currently, a full-fledged Psycho-oncology department functions at the institute with the following objectives:


  • To provide standard and quality psycho-social care to the cancer patients and integrate psycho-social services as part of the cancer care at the Institute.

  • To equip psychology professionals to carry out comprehensive psychological evaluations of cancer patients and apply a range of psychological intervention for them.

  • To enhance the quality of life of the patients through psycho-social interventions.

  • To create a large pool of professional psycho-oncologists to meet the psycho-social needs of cancer patients at various centres in the country.

  • To sensitize the oncology professionals to the psycho-social needs of the cancer patients and assist them to cater to these needs.

  • To close the wide gap between current scientific knowledge and actual clinical care of patients.

  • To build the scientific knowledge in the field of psycho-oncology based on the Indian population by undertaking vigorous researches.