Can Palliative Care Truly Improve the Quality of Life of Cancer Patients?

Medical experts have long recommended palliative care to cancer patients, particularly those whose condition is already in its advanced stage. But many people are asking whether this option really works. Read on to find out.

Better Quality of Life

According to a meta-analysis by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), patients who received palliative care had a better quality of life than those who didn’t. One good reason was the ease of symptoms, which can become increasingly severe as the disease progresses. Patients also benefited from advanced care planning. In turn, they had a better healthcare experience.

The quality of life also doesn’t diminish if the cancer patients received a consultation in the emergency department, according to an article in Jama Oncology. Patients can make personal decisions about their health while they’re still able. It also reduces their exposure to unnecessary end-of-life care that may be both painful and costly.

The Challenge in Palliative Care

Despite different types of research showing the benefits of palliative care, only a few can take advantage of it. A trusted provider of home health care in West Palm Beach, Florida considers the misconception as the biggest barrier.

A Canadian study in 2016 among cancer patients and caregivers revealed that they suffered from the social stigma associated with palliative care – that is, once a person receives it, he or she is already in the brink of death.

Palliative care, however, is not hospice, and it may improve the patient’s chances of survival. A UK study revealed that patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who received palliative care lived about two months longer than those who didn’t.

All it takes is better education, especially about the benefits of palliative care. Patients and their caregivers can take advantage of this option at the soonest possible time.