Palliative care improves your quality of life when you have a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer. The goal of palliative care is prevention or treatment of the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment. Palliative care also provides related psychological, social, and spiritual support. This type of care does not cure your disease. Instead it comforts you during treatment and when treatment efforts become exhausted. Many people know palliative care as comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
Palliative care takes place from the beginning to the end of your cancer experience. You start this care at diagnosis and continue through the end of your life, also through your follow up treatments.
Any healthcare professional can provide palliative care, taking care of your side effects and emotional issues related to cancer. But some professionals specialize in palliative care to treat symptoms, side effects and problems cancer patients experience. Your best quality of life is the goal of this kind of care. Your palliative care professional works with the rest of your treatment team, not in place of them.
Hospice and palliative care share the same principles of support and comfort. But palliative care begins at diagnosis, whereas hospice begins when all treatment potential is exhausted and the disease is uncontrollable. Hospice focuses on caring for the patient during his or her last days, not making care more comfortable during treatment. People with a life expectancy of six months to under a year qualify for hospice.
Cancer care centers and hospitals provide palliative care. Many have palliative care teams monitoring and attending to patients and their families like case workers. Many cancer centers have palliative care programs or clinics specializing in issues like lymphedema, pain management, psychosocial health and sexual functioning with cancer.
Palliative care addresses a wide range of cancer issues, such as the physical and emotional effects of the disease. But these needs are highly individualized, varying from patient to patient. Palliative care focuses on:
Your best resource for palliative care is your primary care doctor or members of your cancer care team. You qualify for palliative care during any point in your cancer diagnosis or treatment, just as your family members qualify for this help, too. Cancer is a major diagnosis and sometimes you need more than just medical support to fight the disease.
Arizona Center for Cancer Care provides more than 35 offices and 55 physicians across Maricopa County for your cancer treatment. Whether you live in the Northeast Valley, Southeast Valley or West Valley, you benefit from the best physicians, leading treatment technologies and most up-to-date research in the country, right near your home.