- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Living with advanced cancer
- Key questions
- Do I need to think about palliative care?
Do I need to think about palliative care?
Some people feel anxious about having palliative care, or avoid it altogether, because they think it’s only for people who are at the end of their life. But that’s not the case at all. In fact, studies show that starting palliative care early can help you to feel better for longer.
What is the goal of palliative care?
The goal is to help you maintain your quality of life at any stage of the illness. By offering a range of services and treatment, palliative care can help you live as fully and as comfortably as possible. It does this by looking after your physical, emotional, cultural, social and/or spiritual needs. For example, palliative care can include strategies to help you to manage pain, move around, eat well, and cope with your feelings.
Palliative care, which is sometimes called supportive care, might be something you choose to use now and then, or it may be ongoing. It’s now very common for people to use palliative care for several years.
Who is involved in palliative care?
There’s a range of health professionals involved in providing palliative care, from doctors and nurses to physiotherapists, dietitians and psychologists – even volunteers and carers.
What is important to you?
Thinking about what is most important to you can guide palliative care services. For some people that may be help going travelling; for others it’s about spending more time with family. Where possible, help can be provided to focus on what is important to you. Support for families and carers is also offered through palliativecare services.
For more on this, see Palliative care.
Podcast for people affected by advanced cancer
Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Alfred Health and Walter and Eliza Institute for Medical Research, VIC; Dr Katherine Allsopp, Supportive and Palliative Care Specialist, Westmead Hospital, NSW; A/Prof Megan Best, The University of Notre Dame Australia and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Keiron Bradley, Palliative Care Consultant, Medical Director Palliative Care Program, Bethesda Health Care, WA; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Emeritus Professor Phyllis Butow, Psychologist, The University of Sydney and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Louise Durham, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Outpatients, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Palliative Care, QLD; Dr Roya Merie, Radiation Oncologist, ICON Cancer Centre, Concord, NSW; Penny Neller, Project Coordinator, National Palliative Care Projects, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Xanthe Sansome, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC; Sparke Helmore Lawyers; Peter Spolc, Consumer.
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