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Palliative Care During Cancer Treatment
Stay comfortable throughout your cancer treatment.
What is palliative medicine?
Palliative medicine is inpatient or outpatient medical care specialized for people with serious illness. It is available at any stage of cancer diagnosis or treatment. At the Henry Ford Cancer Institute, our palliative medicine specialists focus on providing relief from the symptoms of cancer and its treatments such as pain, nausea, or anxiety. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Benefits of palliative medicine for cancer patients
By working with you, your oncology team, and family, we blend palliative medicine into your cancer journey. We provide:
- Specialized treatment of pain and other symptoms. Pain, nausea, breathing and eating difficulties, anxiety, and sleeping problems can make it hard to enjoy life. We can suggest ways to address these problems.
- Emotional support for you and your family. Cancer can be sad and frightening for both the patient and family. Along with behavioral health, we provide emotional support and counseling or medication when needed.
- Guidance and support when you're faced with difficult treatment choices. Sometimes, patients and families face difficult choices about future treatments: Do treatment benefits outweigh its burdens? Is a very risky intervention worthwhile? We can help facilitate conversations to discuss these concerns. Our palliative medicine physicians are specially trained in the CLEAR Conversations program, the goal of which is to improve conversations between providers, patients, and their families.
- Help coordinating care at home and with other community resources. Community resources can make it possible for you to receive care at home. We can help you find services that support your treatment needs, and coordinate symptom management and psychosocial support plans with community resources, such as Henry Ford at Home or others.
- Assistance with Advance Care Planning. We encourage everyone to complete an Advance Directive Form, so your advocate and medical wishes are in writing and will be followed even if you should become unable to make your own medical decisions. Our palliative medicine team can assist you if you have any questions about Advance Care Planning.
Cancer and pain
Many people have pain from their cancer, cancer treatment, or pain during survivorship. Pain is NOT a normal part of cancer care, and can often be almost completely controlled or relieved through treatment or therapy with the help of your palliative medicine team.
If you are having pain during your cancer or cancer treatment, tell your palliative medicine doctor or oncologist. Be very specific about the intensity and location of your pain. It is helpful to use a pain diary, like this one from the American Cancer Society, to help your provider understand the specifics of your pain, and be able to treat it successfully.
Colleen's Corner: Community and local resources
- Get Palliative Care. Get Palliative Care provides clear, comprehensive palliative care information for people coping with serious illness. Key features of the site include a Palliative Care Provider Directory of Hospitals, a definition of palliative care, and detailed descriptions of what palliative care does and how to get it. It also provides an interactive quiz to assist you in deciding whether palliative care might be right for you or a loved one. The site is provided by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).
- The American Cancer Society offers a guide to palliative care.
- The Conversation Project. A website dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.
Inpatient palliative medicine consultations may be requested at:
- Henry Ford Hospital
- Henry Ford Macomb Hospital
- Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
- Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital
Outpatient palliative care appointments can be scheduled at:
Talk with your oncology care team for more information.