Understanding Palliative Care in Cancer Treatment

Cancer is a complex disease that typically necessitates a multidisciplinary approach. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you can expect to meet with specialists at your community hospital . Your healthcare team at Good Samaritan Hospital will help you understand your treatment options, including choices for curative treatment and palliative care.

Goal of Palliative Care

Curative interventions are those that attempt to cure the disease. Palliative care is different. The goal of palliative care is to help patients feel more comfortable and enjoy a better quality of life, despite the adverse effects of cancer and the side effects of treatment. Palliative care can begin as early as diagnosis and continue throughout the course of treatment. A palliative care plan can be designed to prevent and treat health challenges . It may also address the social, spiritual, and psychological needs of cancer patients.

Types of Palliative Care

Palliative care may be delivered in the hospital setting or at home. Hospitals that provide a comprehensive cancer program may have palliative care specialists on staff. These specialists and other healthcare providers can address a wide range of concerns, including the physical challenges of cancer such as fatigue, pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. To help patients cope with these problems, palliative care might involve medications, physical therapy, and nutritional counseling. Another type of palliative care that a community hospital can provide is radiation therapy or chemotherapy to shrink tumors that are causing pain or other symptoms. Palliative care might also involve fulfilling emotional and spiritual needs through counseling, support groups, and mental healthcare.

Misconceptions about Palliative Care

Palliative care is often confused with hospice care, likely because they are quite similar. However, hospice programs only provide palliative care. When a patient enters a hospice program, he or she does not pursue curative treatment options any longer, unless the patient chooses to leave the hospice program. In contrast, palliative care is administered alongside curative treatments. Palliative care can also help families cope with the transition from curative treatments to end of life care.

At Good Samaritan Hospital, it’s our mission to provide patients and their families with the utmost in cancer care. At our community hospital, you’ll find compassionate palliative care, sophisticated treatment options, clinical trials, diagnostic procedures, and extensive support services for families. Residents throughout the San Jose area can reach our hospital at (408) 559-2011.

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