- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Palliative care
- Key questions about palliative care
- Can I still have cancer treatment?
Can I still have cancer treatment?
You can still have active treatment to shrink or stop the cancer growing while receiving palliative care. The palliative care team will work with your cancer specialists to manage side effects from treatment and help maintain your quality of life. Cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy may also be used as part of palliative treatment. In this case, the aim is not to control the cancer but to relieve symptoms.
Some people avoid palliative care because they hope that a cure will be found for their cancer. However, palliative care does not mean giving up hope. You may find that you focus your hopes on the things that are most important to you, e.g. feeling valued, having meaningful relationships or receiving effective pain relief.
People with advanced cancer may have palliative care for several months or years and continue to enjoy many aspects of life in that time. Some take pleasure in completing projects, spending time with friends, or exploring new hobbies. Others make sense of their situation through a creative activity, such as writing, music or art.
As the disease progresses, goals may change. For example, you might hope to live as comfortably as you can for as long as possible or you may have some unfinished business to complete. Palliative care can help you achieve this.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director, Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District Cancer & Palliative Care Network, and Conjoint Professor, Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney, NSW; Richard Austin, Social Worker, Specialist Palliative Care Service, TAS; Sondra Davoren, Manager, Treatment and Supportive Care, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; A/Prof Brian Le, Director of Palliative Care, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre – The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Cathy McDonnell, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Concord Centre for Palliative Care, Concord Hospital, NSW; Natalie Munro, Team Leader, PalAssist, QLD; Penelope Murphy, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Kate Reed, Nurse Practitioner Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Merrilyn Sim, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title. We particularly acknowledge the input of Palliative Care Australia and their permission to quote from €œBrian’s Story €_x009d_ in A Journey Lived – a collection of personal stories from carers (2005).
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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Key questions about advanced cancer
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