Usually when the word palliative care comes up, we think that no other treatment is offered. This is certainly true for hospice care, offered to patients who have less than six months to live. With hospice care patients can receive any pain medications needed as well as social, psychological, spiritual and self care support services. What is not offered however is treatment for the disease. For example, a lung cancer patient might receive morphine, home health care, and oxygen but would not get any chemotherapy.
Palliative care on the other hand does permit treatment at the same time. It is ideal for patients with serious illnesses which cannot be cured and will probably live longer than six months. It can also be used for patients with shorter life expectancy who do not wish to go on hospice.
Palliative care means not going for a cure but rather trying to deal with the disease, shortened life expectancy and all the other issues associated with such a disease. Again, treatment for the disease does not have to be stopped.
What is fascinating about palliative care is that it may actually prolong life, which seems odd as it is not designed for cure. One study has shown that at least for patients with recently diagnosed lung cancer, those who received treatment and palliative care lived longer than those who just received treatment(ie chemotherapy).
This may be due to patients feeling more in touch with the palliative care health providers and thus more relaxed and able to confront the cancer. Why couldn’t just oncologists achieve the same results? Perhaps patients feel more comfortable discussing paths which don’t lead to a cure with physicians who are not directly responsible for the chemotherapy (ie cure). In other words, you can ask your oncologist about that new drug she wants to try but might feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject of stopping the drugs all together. With another physician, who talks you about end of life care you might bring up other issues. Talking with the second physician might relieve some of the anxiety. Plunge into the macrocosm of sky-high grades with the assistance of altered there studying educational service.