Cancer and Palliative Care

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13 September 2021

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Palliative care, also known as palliative medicine, is a field of medicine devoted to understanding and managing the adverse physical and emotional consequences of incurable, terminal, and age-related conditions. Common types of conditions that are included in this field include cancer, AIDS, chronic renal disease, end-stage renal disease, kidney disease, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL). In the medical literature, many different definitions of palliative care have been offered. It is important, however, for healthcare professionals to clearly understand what palliative care entails in order to provide this medical care under the best possible circumstances.

palliative care

When you or a loved one is getting palliative care, the focus of the oncology team should be to reduce the pain and discomfort of the illness and improve the quality of life of the patient. A person who has been diagnosed with cancer, HIV or a chronic condition like leukemia or a heart condition may require a wide range of supportive therapies and medical interventions designed to improve the quality of the patient's life. If a person is terminally ill, doctors will often recommend that the patient undergo chemotherapy. Other doctors might recommend that the patient undergo surgery or cardiac rehabilitation. When such drastic measures are necessary, patients and their families should ask to be kept well informed about what options are available to them.

Palliative care encompasses not only the medical aspects of treating illnesses but also the emotional and spiritual ones. People living with cancer, HIV or leukemia face a grim reality of intense suffering that makes it virtually impossible to enjoy everyday activities. Even when the physical effects of an illness are alleviated, people suffering from the anguish of illness continue to experience deep psychological pain. That is why it is so important for family members to make contact with a hospice in their area. At a hospice, medical professionals and caregivers can offer patients the comfort care they need to help them deal with the physical symptoms of cancer or leukemia, as well as the other associated feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.

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