It’s not giving up: Palliative and hospice care for breast cancer
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual campaign helps increase awareness of the disease and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. People are encouraged to understand its warning signs and symptoms, and the importance of self-exams and mammograms. For those with breast cancer, it’s vital they understand the full range of care options that are available to them. When it comes to receiving palliative and hospice care, breast cancer patients should know it’s not giving up — it’s about improving your quality of life.
Palliative care is one of the first options you have after diagnosis. During the difficult process of treating breast cancer, palliative care can help patients gain strength and improve the ability to tolerate curative treatments, while easing any unwanted and distressing side effects, such as nausea and shortness of breath. It provides expert pain and symptom management, as well as emotional support to revitalize your quality of life while your physicians work to cure or manage your cancer. Whether you're working toward a cure, recovery or disease management, palliative care can help alleviate many practical burdens of breast cancer. Palliative care has been proven to be beneficial at every stage of a serious illness – and the earlier, the better. It's ideal for helping all patients with a serious illness like breast cancer to feel supported, comfortable and more hopeful about the future.
For some breast cancer patients, treatment is no longer an option because the disease is progressing in spite of curative treatments like chemotherapy or radiation. In those circumstances, hospice care eases a patient’s transition from fighting their illness to acceptance and comfort. Hospice is a specialized, compassionate approach to caring for those with serious illness who may have weeks or months, rather than years, to live. The focus is not on giving up, but on caring for the whole person, with expert pain and symptom management and emotional and spiritual support, to improve quality of life. When your illness is progressing despite aggressive treatments, and you and your family want to focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than curing your disease, hospice and its many benefits may be the right choice for you. Hospice provides medical and supportive care for your physical, mental and spiritual well-being and nurtures you and your loved ones in the most sophisticated ways possible, to give you comfort, peace and a sense of fulfillment during this sensitive and significant time.
At JourneyCare, our palliative and hospice care teams are experts in providing care and support to breast cancer patients and their families. Focused on improving the quality of life, both palliative and hospice care can take place wherever you call home and is provided by a dedicated and specially trained team of professionals that work closely with your physicians. An interdisciplinary team of nurses, social workers and specialists support palliative patients. Hospice patients receive the same care with additional support from CNAs, chaplains and volunteers who provide services such as counseling, massage, spiritual care, music therapy and pet therapy according to your goals and wishes.
This October, while supporting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please continue to learn the benefits that palliative and hospice care can provide to those who are suffering. Understand the available care options that provide comfort and relief from pain to breast cancer patients and their families. Because it’s not about giving up.
Find out more about palliative and hospice care on our website at journeycare.org.