Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery are the main cancer treatment methods, and their side effects are varied, ranging from pain, to nausea, and stress and, in extreme cases, can result in amputation. In parallel with the usual treatment methods, and when those options run out, another series of complimentary services can be administered known as palliative care. Often there are specialty environments called hospices that are specifically designed and equipped to deliver palliative care services.
Palliative care includes a series of measures through which physicians try to diminish the pain in patients by minimizing the unwanted side effects during and post cancer treatment as much as possible. Upfront, when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, the physician will, in collaboration with a psychologist and a social worker, implement palliative care measures geared to calm the patient down and provide temporary relief from discomfort. This process includes the family members as often they are more distressed at this stage. The process continues during various stages of treatment and afterwards if pain exists. In the unfortunate circumstance when treatment is deemed ineffective and the child’s health deteriorates toward the end stage, palliative care emerges as the only option thus playing a critical role at the most difficult time for the patient and their family.
In fact, the presence of hospices and the commitment to deliver palliative care is so vital that October 9 has been marked globally as an awareness-raising day for these series of techniques.