While palliative care may include end-of-life care when that becomes appropriate or necessary, it goes much further beyond this and is routinely used earlier in an illness than end-of-life care is.1
If you continue to struggle with pain or symptoms from your cancer, your healthcare team will be able to offer you additional support such as, medicines, surgery, radiotherapy, physiotherapy, occupational health services etc.2,3
With these, your healthcare team will aim to either remove your pain or symptoms, or at least alleviate its severity so that you can continue to live your life without it affecting you as much.
Understandably, after receiving a cancer diagnosis you might find yourself struggling with feelings like anxiety, stress, depression, hopelessness etc., or perhaps you just feel that you would like somebody to talk to.
In these instances, you may be referred to counselling or psychological support services.2 These services can help you work through any emotional difficulties or mental health problems you may be experiencing, so that you can hopefully focus more on what matters to you.
If you practice a faith, then consulting your local leader may be a source of comfort and support for you.2 Many hospitals also have faith rooms for prayer or reflection if you (or any carers or loved ones with you) feel you need this while at an appointment.
There may also be certain rituals associated with your culture or faith that you would like observed (for example, praying, or fasting at certain times, bathing, etc.), and support is available for you at these times too.
Spirituality isn’t confined to those who practice a faith. You may carry out other activities that are meaningful to you and your wellbeing, such as journaling, keeping a diary, or practising meditation. Whatever you like to do, you can ask for help and support if you need it.
Palliative care services may also go beyond just the person with cancer – after all, your family, friends, carers and any other loved ones are a crucial part of your support network. They may also be able to offer support to your family and loved ones too.2 This could take many forms, including:
If you feel like you could benefit from some of the support mentioned here, then why not ask your healthcare team about palliative care.