The incidence of cancer is alarmingly increasing worldwide. The major problem that the medical profession is currently facing refers to “late presentation” patients who, for the most part, have reached the terminal stage of the illness. For these people, the only treatment option left is palliative care.
Various patterns of palliation have been in practice in every culture and in every ethnic group for generations. Unfortunately, we still lack significant and sustained investment in research related to the practice of palliative care. Authors from around the globe seek more investment of public and private funds to investigate ways to improve the bedside practice of palliative care. Modern palliative care concepts were established by Dame Cicely Saunders, from London, UK, right after World War II. It is only in the past 15 to 20 years that this new discipline started to develop in the developing world. However, we still lack the essential basic biological processes involved in relieving the suffering of cancer patients while receiving palliative measures throughout the trajectory of the disease.
This book owes its origins in large measure to physicians and nurses in 30 countries globally, who decided to devote their time, energy, compassion and goodwill, to the promotion of palliative care in their countries and communities, yet they lack solid evidence-based data to rely upon while extending their treatment to both patients and family members. The goal, in part, is to bridge the gap between scientists and clinicians from developed countries and those in developing countries.
We have been aware of the variances between cultures, traditions, beliefs and practices. I am continually struck by the seemingly diametrical views of “knowing” and cultures and the strong overlaps that might give rise to new ideas.
We hope that these new volumes will serve to inspire health professionals’ and administrators’ interests and appreciation for the investment in basic and clinical research that will serve to advance our understanding of the underlying physical and emotional factors involved while extending palliative care to patients suffering from cancer and other non-communicable illnesses.
(Imprint: Nova Medicine and Health)