Palliative Care

Living with pancreatic cancer is not easy; a support system is critical to help patients and their loved ones cope, not only with their pain and symptoms, but with the emotional toll this disease brings. For many, this specialized support is often found through palliative care.

While it is commonly misunderstood or confused as simply end-of-life healthcare, it is a far more expansive approach. Palliative care and hospice care have a similar overarching philosophy with an interdisciplinary approach  focusing on the comfort of the patient but they are distinct, complementary types of care.

Palliative care

  • Care at any stage of illness, including diagnosis.
  • Involves managing the symptoms and side-effects of life-limiting and chronic illness.
  • This type of care can be received at the same time you receive treatment meant to cure your illness.

Hospice care

  • Care at the end of life, focusing on a person’s last six months of life of or less.
  • Focus is on making the patient’s life as comfortable as possible.
  • When curative treatment is no longer an option.

When Should You Seek Palliative Care?

Palliative care is too often overlooked as a treatment option for many patients until the end stages of their pancreatic cancer battle. It’s never too early to seek specialized support. We empower patients and caregivers to ask your specialist, GP, or hospital nurse about referral to palliative care at any stage of your cancer journey to help control cancer symptoms and improve well-being.

Who Is Involved In Palliative Care?

  • Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team can answer questions about treatment, diet, working, or other matters.
  • Counsellors, or spiritual leaders can be helpful to those who want to discuss their emotional concerns.
  • Social workers can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, emotional support, or other services to aid in living with pancreatic cancer.
  • Caregivers and family members may also find the palliative care environment to be beneficial in their bereavement, as grief support is yet another component of this muti-faceted healthcare.

Where Does Palliative Care Take Place?

Palliative care may look different to each individual patient, based on their unique needs and diagnosis. For some it may extend beyond a hospital setting, as it can be provided wherever the patient resides to ensure their comfort is a priority.

 When individuals are faced with a life-limiting illness, a palliative care approach has several benefits:

  • Addressing physical concerns such as pain and symptom management.

  • Nurturing spiritual, psychological and social needs.

  • Supports patients and caregivers throughout the illness, from time of diagnosis.

  • Ensuring dignity and quality of life through all stages of illness.

“Investing in and advocating for palliative care is a humane compassionate thing to do. If we cannot yet give you a cure, then our responsibility is to ensure you have compassion and support until the end of your life. That should be the global baseline of care.”

Michelle Capobianco | CEO, Pancreatic Cancer Canada

Patient and Family Support

Navigating palliative care can bring many complex emotions along with it. We are committed to ensuring patients and their families feel supported and have access to the specialized care and support they need at every stage. Our Peer Support program will connect you with specially-trained volunteers at zero cost, virtually or by phone.

Have more questions about palliative care? Our Ask An Expert program can help. Our team of specialists are ready to assist you in making informed decisions about pancreatic cancer treatment and care – completely free of charge.

316-4211 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2P 2A9
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