Cancer patients and survivors can benefit from palliative care, a holistic approach to easing their suffering. Contrary to popular belief, palliative care is not limited to patients with incurable or terminal diseases. The goal of treatment is to provide the highest possible quality of life at every stage, beginning with diagnosis. Supportive care or symptom control is also referred to as palliative care.
If the cancer cannot be treated, the focus shifts to providing end-of-life care. Specialists in palliative medicine can assist in determining your needs and constructing a plan to meet them.
There are many ways in which cancer can affect patients - biologically, physically and psychologically. Patients’ (and their families’) needs are addressed during this challenging time to improve their quality of life through palliative care.
Cancer patients may experience symptoms associated with the disease or side effects related to the treatment, such as pain, breathlessness, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Palliative care professionals can manage most of these symptoms with careful assessment and an individualised plan of care that is holistic in nature.
Providing palliative care alongside curative cancer treatments is not limited to individuals at the end of their lives. Successful management of symptoms often allows the patient to continue with necessary cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This is to ensure that their disease is managed as efficiently as possible.
Early involvement of the palliative care team in managing patients with advanced cancer has also been shown to improve quality of life, reduce depression, enhance coping, and even improve survival rates.