Cancer Care Association- Sri Lanka

"Whoever would tend to me, should tend to the sick."- Lord Buddha


Home Based Palliative Care

World Palliative Care Day 2012-SLMA Lecture by Dr.Samadhi Rajapaksa

World Palliative Care Day – 2012

“Living to the end: palliative care for an ageing population”

12 OCTOBER 2012 ; FROM 9 AM TO 1.30 PM;


National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) of Ministry of Health in collaboration with Sri Lanka Medical Association has arranged an advocacy programme to commemorate ‘World Palliative Care Day – 2012’.

“Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of  patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” (WHO)

Please contact the NCCP or the SLMA to register for participation.


Time Topic Lecturer
9.00 – 9.05


Prof. Vajira Dissanayaka

President , SLMA9.10 – 9.20

Opening Remarks

Dr.Neelamani Paranagama


Director / NCCP9.20 – 9.30

Opening Remarks

College of Oncologists9.30 – 9.40

‘Holistic approach in delivery of Palliative Care’

Dr. Suraj Perera


Consultant Community Physician

National Cancer Control Programme   Session 1 :  ‘Palliative Care an Essential Component in Health Care Delivery’

Chairpersons: Dr. Eshani Fernando, Deputy Director, National Cancer Control Programme & Dr.B.J.C. Perera President Elect SLMA

9.40 – 10.00“ Womb to  Tomb : The journey  of  life”Dr.Udayangani Ramadasa

Consultant Physician with Post Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care

10.00 – 10.20“Palliative Care for Cancer Patients “Dr.N.Jeyakumaran

Consultant Clinical Oncologist

TH – Jaffna

10.20 – 10.40″Living to the end: palliative care for an ageing population”.Dr.Dilhara Samaraweera

Consultant Physician with Post Graduate Diploma in Geriatrics

10.40 – 11.00Tea Session 2 :  Strengthening Palliative Care for Cancer Patients in health care settings


11.00 -11.15Palliative Care for  Breast Cancer PatientsDr.Sujeewa Weerasingha

Consultant Oncologist

11.15 – 11.30Palliative care for  Cervical Cancer patientsDr.Kanishka Karunaratne

Consultant Gynaeoncologist

11.30 – 11.45Supportive care for a patient with advanced stage Oral Cancer’


Dr. Suresh Shanmuganathan

President, Sri Lanka Dental Association (SLDA)

11.45 – 12.00

Pain relief in palliative care

Dr.Rohini Ranwala

Consultant Aneasthetist, National Hospital

12.00 – 12.15

Nurses role in palliative care

Mrs. Amarasingha

President, Sri Lanka Nursing Association (SLNA)

Session 3 :  Palliative care beyond health care settings


12.15 – 12.30

‘Supportive care services available in the community’

Dr.Shiromi Maduwage

Consultant Community Physician

Directorate of YEDD

12.30 -12.45

‘ Home based palliative care’ – The initial experience

Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksha

Founder, Cancer Care Association

12.45 – 1.00

The success story of Community Based Palliative Care Kerala, India – My observations

Ms. Lalitha Meegoda

PhD Student in Palliative Care Nursing

1.00 – 1.30Discussion



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Few captions from Home Based Palliative care work


Article in Asian Tribune…about Home Based Palliative Care

Palliative Care for terminally ill cancer patients

Thu, 2012-07-05 00:44 — editor
By Dr. Upul Ekanayake, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya



“I am reminded of all the good deeds that I did in my life…I realize that I am not completely alone in the world and I am relieved now”. These are the parting words of a terminally ill cancer patient at the end of the visit of the home based palliative care team attached to the Cancer Care Association-Galle branch. After a few days he passed away and his family felt that his last few days were peaceful. 

A terminally ill cancer patient is someone at an advanced stage of cancer when a cure is not possible with active treatment. They would survive usually a few days or a few months which is a very difficult time period for both the patients and the family; physically, emotionally and in certain instances financially. These patients should be ideally kept in a Hospice and be provided with symptomatic treatment and emotional support which are called Palliative Care.

Palliation includes nursing, pain relief measures and counseling and spiritual development of the patient. Palliative care includes the members of the family as well. In other words Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of a terminally ill cancer patient which makes the patient physically and emotionally comfortable.

According to the Cancer Unit of the Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya, in 2010 there were 1702 cases of new cancer patients. Fifty seven percent of these cases were females while the rest were males. Out of them, twenty percent were recommended for palliative care.

Unfortunately some of these patients who need palliative care are being treated at the Cancer Unit of the Teaching Hospital; Karapitiya as there is no Cancer Hospice in the Southern province. Owing to this situation problems arise in the already overcrowded wards.




Some of the terminally ill patients are discharged from the hospital to spend their last few days at home with their families. However, both the patients and family members face severe hardships in trying to deal with the situation that they come across.

In the absence of a Hospice in Galle district, the Galle branch of the Cancer Care Association (CCA), a non-profit organization which was established by Dr. Samadhi Wishvanath Rajapaksa in 2003, decided to form a home-based palliative care team for the first time in Sri Lanka to serve the terminally ill patients and their families. The Bank Account Nos. of the CCA are 8290025562 and 1290025562 at the Battaramulla Branch of Commercial Bank.

The team has been in operation for the past 8 months to date. At present, it comprises of 8 volunteers qualified in medication, counseling and spiritual development skills. They cover a cross section of the society. With the Consultant’s recommendation and the consent of the patient and the care givers prior to being discharged from the hospital, the home based palliative care team is brought into action. They visit the patient and provide symptomatic treatment such as nursing care, pain killers and Intra-venous fluids, nutritional support, training for the care givers as to how to make the patient more comfortable in life, counseling for both the patient and the family members who care for the patient and provide support for emotional wellbeing through spiritual activities such as chanting of pirith and meditation.

Along with the increased awareness about the home- based Palliative Care Team and their services, the demand for the same from the patients is increasing. However at present the team can serve only the patients who live in an area of around 30km radius from the city of Galle as they use a private vehicle that a voluntary member of the team has contributed towards this worthy endeavor. Thus it leaves out a majority of the patients in the Southern province especially in distant rural areas such as Deniyaya and Tissamaharama.

The major obstacle that the team is facing at the moment in broadening their geographical reach is an affordable means of transport for the team of 5-7. The Cancer Care Association earnestly and urgently seeks the support of magnanimous people for the provision of a vehicle for this worthy cause.

The Cancer Care Association can be contacted at No. 56, Munasinghe Mawatha, Galawilawatte, Homagama, Sri Lanka, Tel: 3155229/0773409787; Email: and more information can be obtained from

– Asian Tribune –

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