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What is Palliative Care in Cancer?

What is Palliative Care in Cancer?


Palliative care is an approach that improves the standard of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who face problems related to life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer. Palliative care is an approach to worry that addresses the person as an entire, not just their disease. The goal is to stop or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, in addition to any related psychological, social, and spiritual problems. It is additionally called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.

Palliative care uses a team approach to support patients and their caregivers. This includes addressing practical needs and providing bereavement counselling. It offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death.

It is explicitly recognized under the human right to health. It should be provided through person-centred and integrated health services that pay special attention to the precise needs and preferences of people.

Each year an estimated 40 million people need palliative care, 78% of whom sleep in low- and middle-income countries. According to a WHO survey relating to non-communicable diseases conducted among 194 Member States in 2019: funding for palliative care was available in 68% of countries and only 40% of countries reported that the services reached a minimum of half of patients in need.

Also Read: Palliative Care

Other barriers to palliative care include:

  • lack of awareness among policy-makers, health professionals and therefore the public about what palliative care is, and therefore the benefits it offers patients and health systems;
  • cultural and social barriers, like beliefs about death and dying;
  • misconceptions about it, like that it's just for patients with cancer, or the last weeks of life; and
  • misconceptions that improving access to opioid analgesia will cause increased drug abuse.

Who gives palliative care?

Your cancer doctor may be the first person to talk with you about palliative care. Depending on the sort of care you would like, you would possibly see someone at the hospital, during a clinic, or maybe in your home.

It is typically provided by specialists and health care practitioners who have received special training and/or certification in palliative care. They provide holistic care to the patient and family or caregiver. That specialize in the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual issues cancer patients may face during the cancer experience.

Often, the specialists work as a part of a multidisciplinary team which will include doctors, nurses, registered dieticians, pharmacists, chaplains, psychologists, and social workers. The team works in conjunction together with your oncology care team to manage your care and maintain the simplest possible quality of life for you.

The specialists also provide caregiver support and facilitate communication among members of the healthcare team. Also, help with discussions that specialize in the goals of looking after the patient.

Also Read: Cancer Treatment, Stages and its Causes

What issues are addressed in palliative care?

The physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment could also be very different from person to person. This can address a broad range of issues, integrating an individuals specific needs into care. A specialist will take the subsequent issues under consideration for every patient:

Physical. Common physical symptoms include pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and insomnia.

Emotional and coping. The specialists can provide resources to assist patients and families affecting the emotions that accompany a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment. Depression, anxiety, and fear are only a couple of the concerns which will be addressed through palliative care.

Spiritual. With a cancer diagnosis, patients and families often look more deeply for meaning in their lives. Some find the disease brings them closer to their faith or spiritual beliefs. whereas others struggle to know why cancer happened to them. An expert can help people explore their beliefs and values so that they will find a way of peace or reach some extent of acceptance that is appropriate for their situation.

Caregiver needs. Family members are a crucial part of cancer care. Like the patient, they have changing needs. Its common for family members to become overwhelmed by the extra responsibilities placed upon them. Many find it hard to worry about a sick relative while trying to handle other obligations, like work, household duties, and caring for other relations. Uncertainty about the way to help their beloved with medical situations, inadequate social support, and emotions like worry and fear also can increase caregiver stress.

Also Read: End Of Life Care A Service To The People

Practical needs. The specialists also can assist with financial and legal worries, insurance questions, and employment concerns. Discussing the goals of care is additionally a crucial component of palliative care. This includes talking about advance directives and facilitating communication among relations, caregivers, and members of the oncology care team.

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