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Palliative Care

Palliative Care

December 14, 2021
Sanjay Juneja, MD
Sanjay Juneja, MD

Medical Oncology

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Transcript

One of the most important things to remember, not just as a patient, but especially as a family member of a patient, when you’re dealing with a metastatic stage four incurable cancer, the whole purpose of controlling the disease is so that you can maximize the quality of life that you’re living while controlling that disease. This is important in the concept of what we call palliative care. So some people and some healthcare professionals consider palliative therapy to mean there’s no active treatment to control the cancer. And that is not the case. Palliative care or palliation means, how can we help anything that a patient experiences to help, again, maximize that quality of day-to-day life? It’s very important to speak to your doctor about plans you may have to be able to go on trips or to be able to visit family members, or just take a break for a week from your therapy if you have good control, because again, the whole purpose is so that you enjoy every day. Some of the things that can be incorporated in palliative care, especially when it comes to pain, are radiation and oral medications that can help control that pain. That’s a big component, especially with bone metastases. But in addition to pain, medications and focal radiation to help reduce that pain, occasionally, oncologists will give a stimulant for family reunions, or, I had a patient that went to the Grand Canyon, but he was experiencing fatigue, both from his cancer and his chemotherapy. And so Ritalin was able to help him enjoy and be more engaged with his family members. There’s also a lot of evidence that is starting to explore THC and tincture related compounds that can help reduce pain without the side effects of opiates. They can also potentially help appetite. All of these components are a collaborative means to help you maximize your quality.