These 3 terms can be confusing. Each describes a way of caring for someone with cancer or another serious illness. All involve coordinated care by a team including specialist doctors, nurses, volunteers, social workers and pastoral care workers. The goal is to provide care and support so people with serious illness can live as fully and comfortably as possible.
Begins as soon as cancer is diagnosed or suspected. It continues through treatment and for as long as is necessary after treatment's over. Supportive care may involve
When a cure is unlikely, the type of care is more likely to be described as ‘palliative' than ‘supportive'. This doesn't necessarily mean the end is near. People with cancer can be in the palliative stage of their illness for months, sometimes years. Palliative treatments may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy as well as pain relieving drugs or dietary help.
Combines medical, nursing, psychological, physical, social and spiritual care so that people with cancer may come to terms with what's happening to them
For more information about palliative care, visit: Palliative Care Victoria.
Terminal care is similar to palliative care. It's used to describe caring for someone in the last few days, weeks or months of their life. The aim of care is to provide comfort and support to the person with cancer and those close to them. It doesn't usually involve active treatment.
If you'd like to discuss these terms further, call the Cancer Helpline on 13 11 20 and speak with a cancer nurse.
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