The recent Covid-19 Pandemic has elicited a set of completely unfamiliar challenges disrupting not only the major Social-Political-Economic practices but also evoking a sense of confusion in carrying out the daily tasks, as well as negatively impacting the mental health of the masses. It is notably tough on people battling with strenuous diseases such as Cancer. There is a feeling of hesitation in accessing healthcare while managing one’s financial resources and safeguarding one’s mental health.
Due to the restriction of movement and the dynamic nature of the fatal virus, patients are skeptical about seeking help by visiting hospitals, while those in the hospitals are at the potential risk of falling victims to the virus. The medicines ingested for Cancer weaken immunity and induce fatigue. Moreover, the cost of treatment of Cancer, in a middle-income country like India, has always been heavy on the pocket. It varies from state to state and the average cost of treatment by private practitioners can go up to approximately 20 lakhs; this cost has only spiked up during the pandemic making the treatment more complex with limited income. Besides the financial drawbacks, there is a delay in providing treatments such as Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy which require systematic sessions. This delay is a cause of the structure of healthcare and limited availability of professionals especially in countries like India where the ratio of population is far greater than the resources available.
These factors take a toll on an individual’s mental health and the experience is agonizing for the patients, their relatives as well as the healthcare facilities. The Pandemic has significantly convoluted decision-making. The impression of uncertainty surrounding the advent of a vaccine soon invokes a sense of helplessness, anxiety, and disinterest in the monotonous way of living. Distancing from close acquaintances and support systems while facing a crisis, often impair the ability to focus, process information, and perform chores efficiently.
It is thus apt to say that the Pandemic has deepened Cancer’s Stress and Tough Choices. Cancer in itself is equally onerous for healthcare and patients. The Pandemic has further contributed in revealing the inept policies and loopholes that need to be mended on an individual and communal level, while also calling for an expansion in measures towards reducing distress and addressing mental health at parity with physical health.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Tuned.