Palliative care refers to providing special medical attention to people suffering from serious diseases like cancer. Their doctors generally recommend it at a time during their diagnosis or after major treatments. These could be chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, or surgery. It focuses on managing their symptoms and offering them relief from the side-effects they experience from the surgery or medicines. Caregivers with the necessary training, skills, and nursing experience provide palliative care to cancer sufferers. Their objective is to ensure they take their medicines on time, get proper nutrition and physical therapy. Most of them even offer emotional support to people under their care. This helps improve the quality of their lives and hasten their recovery.
Dr. Paolo Boffetta – Why do people with cancer need palliative care?
Dr. Paolo Boffetta is an esteemed epidemiologist from Italy with over 30 years of experience in cancer research. He has made important contributions through his research papers on the development of this chronic disease. He is a member of the editorial boards of many prominent scientific journals. These include the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Biomarkers, Cancer Medicine, Annals of Oncology, and Cancer Discovery. Throughout his career, he has held important posts in prominent international cancer research institutions. These include the German Cancer Research Centre, American Cancer Society, Columbia University, American Health Foundation, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. Currently, he is the Director at the Institute for Translational Epidemiology.
He says palliative care is necessary for people suffering from advanced stages of cancer. Their doctors can recommend it at any stage of their diagnosis or treatment. They appoint a team of caregivers who specialize in this area to look after the patients. This care can be given at the doctors’ clinics, hospitals, cancer centers, or the sufferers’ homes. Palliative care is important for people with cancer in the following reasons:
- To manage and control their physical symptoms,
- Provide relief from the discomfort of any side-effects they experience after treatment,
- Help the cancer sufferers cope with their emotions and overcome depression,
- To ensure they take their medicines on time,
- To make sure they get the proper nutrition for a quick recovery, and
- Offer emotional support and help the patient’s family members on how to cope with a relative suffering from cancer.
Benefits of palliative care for cancer sufferers
He further points out the following advantages of palliative care for people suffering from cancer:
- They exhibit fewer symptoms of adverse side effects,
- It enhances the quality of their lives,
- It reduces their mental stress and makes them feel better, and
- It increases their survival rate.
As concluded by Dr. Paolo Boffetta people with cancer need proper palliative care under the supervision of qualified caregivers. Their doctors can recommend it at any of the stages of their treatment. Palliative care helps to manage their physical symptoms and provides relief from the discomfort they experience. Patients receive 24/7 care and emotional support they need when suffering from cancer. They heal faster, and they gain the strength to fight cancer with the compassion of supportive health workers assigned to their care.