It can be a shock, and very disappointing, when the oncologist says that – in their opinion – the best available treatment is palliative care. Deciding the best treatment for a patient is always a balance. The patient and their doctor have to weigh the likely benefits and the likely side effects. These might make a patient feel worse rather than better. If you are unhappy with the advice from your oncologist you should always ask them about alternatives .
Amercian study shows that palliative care can have positive benefits to health
However, a new American study of 70,000 cancer patients has found that palliative care often improves people’s health and well-being. When no other treatement was advisable, people who were offered palliative care felt better for longer, and lived for longer, on average than those who received no help at all.
Palliative care isn’t an excuse for doing nothing
If patients suspect that their hospital has put them on a palliative care pathway as an excuse for doing nothing they should ask questions. Palliative care is a treatment designed to relieve symptoms, manage pain and provide emotional and spiritual support. If you are on a palliative care pathway, someone from the palliatve care team should be in touch with you regularly to monitor your well-being.
You can read more about the study here.