When you have metastatic breast cancer, aside from medical treatment, you will also need supportive care, also commonly known as palliative care. The main purpose of palliative care is to help make you feel good through managing your symptoms, resolving your emotional problems, and lifting you up as you go through treatment. For example, receiving anti-nausea medication while undergoing chemotherapy or pain medication following your mastectomy is considered palliative care. The American Cancer Society (ACS) states that cancer patients who obtain palliative care, regardless of the stage of their cancer, will experience less nausea and pain, fewer and shorter anxiety and depression episodes, and improved quality of life than cancer patients who don’t. With this in mind, you should consider palliative care, whether outpatient or inpatient, for the following benefits:
Managing Symptoms and Side Effects of Treatment
Plenty of women with metastatic breast cancer typically experience multiple symptoms including pain, fatigue, poor appetite, and nausea for either the treatment or the cancer itself. Your palliative care team in Indiana might include several doctors, dietitians, nurses, physical therapists, counselors, and other relevant professionals to help ease your symptoms. For instance, maybe some modifications to your diet can alleviate your nausea. Put simply, your palliative care team will help you better control your symptoms, diet, emotions, and other aspects of your diagnosis so that you can tolerate your treatment and symptoms better.
Helping You Work with Your Doctors and Plan Your Care
It’s very common to feel confused and sad about your future. Your palliative care team can help you navigate advance care planning and educate you on consultations with your surgeon, oncologist, and other medical professionals. The primary objective is to help you better understand what’s happening and what might happen to you. As a result, you can make more informed decisions when planning for your future.
Resolving Your Emotions
All cancer patients undergoing treatment will feel sad, scared, and anxious at some point during and after treatment. If you’re feeling pain, it’s difficult to pinpoint whether it’s due to a physical reason or psychological issue. If you’re depressed or anxious, your pain will most likely persist or get worse. With palliative care, you will undergo regular mental health assessments and consult psychologists who can give you therapy or chaplains to address your spiritual needs.
Supporting Your Loved Ones
Aside from giving you support, your palliative care team will also communicate with your loved ones and caregivers. They’ll have access to professionals who can help your loved ones balance the emotional and physical demands of their responsibilities to help them through difficult decisions.
Helping You with Practical Life Concerns, Including Your Finances
Your palliative care team is experienced in financial planning. They can help you with issues such as the insurance system, legal advice, and simpler financial responsibilities such as paying the bills.
Plenty of cancer patients think of palliative care as end-of-life cancer care. However, it can offer benefits at every stage of breast cancer. It’s also very crucial to note that according to ACS, the earlier patients receive palliative care, the better their outcomes. Therefore, sit down with your loved ones as soon as possible to help you decide if palliative care is right for you.