An often overlooked resource for those facing pancreatic cancer, or any serious illness, is palliative care. Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and specialists who work together to provide an extra layer of support. It can be a means of helping patients and their families clarify their goals of care while providing symptom management, psychosocial guidance, and spiritual support.
Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment. Although it is an important part of end-of-life care, it is not limited to that stage. When combined with a patient’s primary care, palliative care offers the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.
The goal of palliative care is simple: It aims to help you carry on with your daily life and improve your ability to go through medical treatments.
Some of the common questions around palliative care are:
- Where can I receive it? In a variety of settings including the hospital, outpatient clinic and at home.
- Will it be covered by insurance? Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care.
- How do I know if it is right for me? If you suffer from pain, stress or other symptoms due to a serious illness, palliative care can be provided at any stage of illness and along with treatment meant to cure you.
- What can I expect from palliative care? Relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
- How do I get palliative care? You just have to ask for it! Tell your doctors and nurses that you’d like to speak with the palliative care team.
Additional Palliative Care Resources:
- Get Palliative Care
Learn more about palliative care and search the Provider Directory for care in your area.
- National Cancer Institute’s Palliative Care Resources
More information on palliative care from the National Cancer Institute. This general fact sheet provides an overview of palliative care and is not pancreatic cancer specific.
- UCLA’s Palliative Care Resources
Information on the palliative care program at UCLA including the services provided and a list of providers.
- Palliative Care: What You Need To Know
Additional information from our long-term partner, CancerCare, with a list of questions to facilitate conversations with your doctor on whether palliative care is right for you.