Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a life-changing event often met with apprehension and fear. Life as you know it suddenly changes and your schedule is overtaken by doctor’s visits, frightening procedures, and rounds of equally scary treatment. Fortunately, there are several treatment options that are used to help patients overcome this battle. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are all used to treat cancer, and when used in conjunction with palliative care, can be quite effective. A team of expert medical professionals also offer support to patients’ loved ones during this time, in order to keep them strong and capable of supporting the patient. These palliative care teams are located in both hospitals and outpatient settings, and are provided by Harbor Light Hospice.
Palliative Care for Breast Cancer Patients
A cancer diagnosis can be a scary event. Your world shifts and suddenly daily life revolves around doctor visits, surgeries, and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. You find yourself in a position where it is necessary to make important health decisions as well as prepare for the future of you and your family. You may also be facing these hurdles while dealing with unpleasant physical symptoms. It can all be very overwhelming.
Why Palliative Care is Recommended During Treatment
Upon diagnosis, breast cancer patients are faced with the task of choosing among several different treatment options.
Common treatment options include:
With these different types of treatment come different side effects, like physical pain, nausea and vomitting, fatigue, shortness of breath, constipation, and depression. Palliative care is used when a serious illness is present to try to alleviate the pain and physical symptoms.
Understanding Palliative Care
An area of specialized medicine focusing only on the relief of pain, symptoms, and stress associated with serious illness is known as palliative medicine, or palliative care. The purpose of this type of treatment is to attempt to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their loved ones. It is appropriate regardless of age or the stage in your illness. It can also be used in conjunction with any treatment being administered with the intent to cure.
Your Treatment Team
Cancer is treated by a team of experts, including the oncologist, surgeon, and radiation doctors. The disease itself, however, is only half of what patients must deal with. When a partnership between a palliative care team and cancer specialists is successful, oftentimes cancer patients will experience reduced symptoms, improved paths of communication, and better psychological and spiritual care. During this time, patients also have someone to help them plan for their future. When their symptoms become more stable, patients can resume their daily activities.
Talking About Your Illness
Talking to their family and loved ones about their illness is often a difficult thing for cancer patients to do. Choosing among treatment options is also of great concern to most patients, and the decision comes with many questions and concerns that need to be addressed before a final decision can be made. Fortunately, palliative care teams are experts at discussing these important issues and communicating with seriously ill patients and their families. These palliative care teams can be extremely helpful when it comes to making sure everyone involved understands the treatment options. They can also help direct patients through the intricate health care system and predict unforseen future issues that could arise.
Care and Support
During treatment, members of the palliative care team are available to talk to patients about their depression, anxiety, and frets over body image and sexuality. It is worth noting that while breast cancer is primarily a disease that affects women, men can also be diagnosed with it and suffer emotionally as a result, as well. Palliative care teams work to provide support not only to the patient, but also to the family members and loved ones who may be facing distress during this time. Family members who feel supported by the palliative care teams can then in turn offer more support to their loved ones.
Where Care is Provided
Palliative care can occur in a hospital or an outpatient setting, depending on where the patient will feel most comfortable. Breast cancer patients are more likely to see the quality of their life improved during every stage of the illness with the use of palliative care.
Contact Us To Learn More
If you or a loved one are in need of palliative care, please ask your physician for a referral or, contact Harbor Light Hospice to learn how we can help you are your loved ones during this difficult time.