Your Texas Oncology medical team will apply their best efforts and strategies while guided by the latest research to control your disease. However, there is no guarantee that your tumor will respond to therapy indefinitely. For some patients, at some point in the treatment process palliative or hospice care becomes the most appropriate approach.
Palliative care addresses quality of your life regarding such things as pain control, breathing, and overall comfort, without necessarily curing or prolonging life.
Hospice is care coordinated by a team of healthcare professionals including your physicians and nurses, medical directors, hospice nurses, social workers, clergy and volunteers. The focus of hospice is maintaining the comfort and quality of life for patients up to the time of death. Hospice also provides support for the family during and after a patient's illness.
Recent studies suggest that palliative care is not just for pain, nor is it the last resort. For incurable tumors, chemotherapy and radiation therapies are palliative in that they improve life by reducing the disease burden, not by curing it. Such studies indicate that palliative care begins with the diagnosis of incurable cancer, but many aspects of palliative care are often overlooked until a very late stage of the disease. Chief concerns among these are:
- Pain and symptom management
- Relieving or avoiding non-medical problems, especially of not being a burden to family and society
- Achieving a sense of control; this includes understanding the disease, making informed choices, participating in care, and after-death affairs such as funeral arrangements, financial and spouse or childcare arrangements
- Spiritual completeness in having a sense of life's meaning, helping others or strengthening relationships with family and friends, or making peace with God.
Pain and symptom control can be excellent when utilizing community-based, coordinated palliative care. Our physicians and staff encourage patients and families to integrate concerns regarding the quality and meaning of their lives with the scientific evidence regarding their disease.
We at Texas Oncology realize that there are many things to consider when one receives a diagnosis of incurable cancer. We are here to provide factual, honest information regarding your disease and to help you integrate this information with your personal needs.
To learn more about end-of-life care, click on the links below. Please note that the information available through these links is not provided by Texas Oncology, and Texas Oncology does not necessarily endorse this information. All information provided through these links is for your reference only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician before acting or relying upon such information.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
a national coalition to improve end-of-life care
Partnership for Caring
a source for state-specific advance directives and living wills