What Do I Do Now? - 141

141
AFTER /// CHAPTER 90
If Treatment
Doesn't Work
What Is Palliative Care?
Sometimes, no matter what type of
cancer you had and what treatments
you tried, some cancers cannot be
cured.
Being told that your cancer cannot be
cured is probably the hardest thing you
and your family will ever hear. This is
brutal and unfair. There is no right or
wrong way to deal with the fact that
your cancer cannot be cured and you
get to decide how to respond to this
news.
Learning to live with the knowledge
that your cancer is incurable is not easy
and it will be different for everyone.
It is really important to find people who
you can trust and who will be honest
with you. This may be family or friends
but sometimes it may be easier to find
someone outside the family.
Making the most of life with a terminal
illness often depends a lot on having
the symptoms under control.
Palliative care is a supportive care service that addresses
symptom management. They may be consulted at ANY time
during your treatment, but they are often not needed if your
symptoms have been well managed until your cancer has
progressed and is causing you more distress. The team may
be made up of doctors, nurses, chaplains and social workers
to address your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. They
are not the same as hospice, and you can continue to receive
cancer-directed therapy and palliative care services at the same
time! Having both your cancer treated and your symptoms
managed well can allow you to maximize your quality and
quantity of life.
What Is Hospice?
If and when you decide to prioritize comfort over cancerdirected
treatment, hospice may be appropriate for you.
Hospice is a multidisciplinary team (usually including nurses,
social workers, chaplains, etc.) who will bring services and
support to your house with a focus on aggressively treating
your symptoms to keep you comfortable and providing
emotional support. Because of the scope of their services, they
can often allow you to spend more of your end-of-life time at
home. There are also inpatient hospice facilities if you don't
want to die at home but also don't want all the sterileness and
interventions of a hospital. To qualify for hospice you have to
have a life-threatening condition with high likelihood of death in
the next 6 months. Most of the time you cannot receive hospice
services AND chemotherapy at the same time. It's always
best to consult hospice as early as possible so you can form
meaningful relationships with the team that will be supporting
you at the end of your life and so you can benefit the most from
all they can offer.
Emotions
There will be many emotions, some that you might expect and
others you don't. At times they can be so strong that they feel
like they will overwhelm you.
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What Do I Do Now?

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of What Do I Do Now?

Contents
What Do I Do Now? - 1
What Do I Do Now? - Contents
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