Palliative care improves the life quality of cancer patients

Although cancer treatments are effective, they cause symptoms and side effects that can become a source of stress for the patient. Instead of making the patient feel better, radiation and chemotherapy diminish the patient’s quality of life, the result being a feeling of distress. What the patient needs to get over this situation is counselling and therapeutic massage, meaning palliative care. Palliative approach along with standard treatment have the potential of significantly improving the life quality of the people suffering from cancer. This approach provides support for both patients and their families, regardless of age or stage of the disease.  Organisations that provide palliative care in Ottawa basically meet the physical and spiritual needs of the client, which in turn helps him live longer.

Defining palliative care and its goals

Palliative care can be defined as a form of treatment that is aimed at treating people suffering from serious illnesses, such as heart failure, kidney failure, and of course cancer. When it comes to cancer, the goal of the treatment is to address symptoms and side effects, like pain, nausea and fatigue. The treatment is focused on controlling these symptoms with the intention of improving life quality. It has been proven that when side effects and other challenges are dealt with, the quality of life of the patient is improved. In addition to this, the treatment can even help the patient live a longer life because the treatment implies techniques similar to those used to treat cancer, such as surgery or radiation.

Is palliative care hospice care?

Many people make the mistake of confusing the palliative approach with hospice care, meaning treatment that is provided to patients suffering from terminal conditions. The most important difference is that the first approach treatment is offers extra support for cancer patients, while hospice treatment is aimed specifically at those who are not expected to live longer than six months. During the last stages of cancer the doctor may suggest ways of improving symptoms and side effects caused by cancer. You can just as well continue fighting the disease and get support to manage troublesome symptoms.

What do the results say?

The fact is that patients who refuse aggressive cancer treatments have lived three months longer thanks to palliative support. They gained the necessary strength to fully complete their treatment and to perform daily activities. The main focus is on comfort and support rather than cure. The focus on care in the early stages helps reduce anxiety and depression. Thanks to the use of medication, relaxation techniques and emotional support, the patient actually happier with the treatment.