Palliative treatment helps to improve people’s quality of life by managing the symptoms of cancer without trying to cure the disease. It is best thought of as supportive care.
Many people think that palliative treatment is for people at the end of their life; however, it can help people at any stage. It is about living as fully and comfortably as possible.
As well as slowing the spread of cancer, palliative treatment can relieve any pain and help manage other symptoms. Treatment may include short courses of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or other medicines. If you are experiencing ongoing symptoms, ask for a referral to the symptom management or palliative care team.
Palliative treatment is one aspect of palliative care, in which a team of health professionals aim to meet your physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual and social needs. The team also supports families and carers. Your care may be led by a specialist palliative care team or by your GP and a community nurse.
Watch this video on how palliative treatment aims to manage symptoms and improve people’s quality of life without trying to cure the disease.
Podcast for people affected by advanced cancer
Dr Ian Bilmon, Haematologist, Westmead and Sydney Adventist Hospitals; Dr Anne Capp, Radiation Oncologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Rachelle Frith, Clinical Nurse Consultant Haematology, Prince of Wales Hospital; Jason Gardner, Consumer; A/Prof Angela Hong, Radiation Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, and Clinical Professor, The University of Sydney; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Samantha Rennie, Social Worker, Cancer Services, St George Hospital. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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