You may worry that agreeing to palliative care means giving up hope for a cure. That is not the case at all. In fact, palliative care can help you cope with aggressive treatments by getting your pain and symptoms under control to help you fight the disease. For instance, one study found patients with cancer who receive palliative care were more likely to complete chemotherapy treatment and reported a higher quality of life than those who didn’t receive palliative care.
Palliative care helps you achieve quality of life as you define it. The palliative doctor and team explain the pros and cons of your treatment options so you can make informed decisions about how you want to manage your illness and symptoms, and live your life. They also can provide emotional and spiritual support and resources. In other words, they are concerned about you, not just your illness.
These things make sense intuitively, but they also translate into tangible benefits. There is a wealth of evidence that people who receive palliative care (including hospice care when a cure is out of reach) are highly satisfied, as are their loved ones. Studies show palliative care:
Controls common symptoms of serious illness such as fatigue, anxiety, shortness of breath, nausea, depression and constipation
Improves quality of life.
If you have a serious illness, you may be seeing a hospitalist, personal physician or specialist. Ask your doctor if palliative care might be helpful for you.
"Palliative Care: A Lifeline to Quality of Life" by the American Cancer Society. In this video, cancer researchers and experts talk about the importance of palliative care.