When Is Palliative Care Appropriate for Someone Who Has Cancer?

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That's a really interesting question these days because the official definition of palliative care means care for symptoms that happen in patients with advanced illness, many of our colleagues and almost all the public believe that palliative care means the last days or weeks of life and that just is not so.

Palliative care or good symptom management and psycho-social support need to be given from the time of diagnosis and all a way through, the face of the changes. Sometimes if cancer does progress, no matter what treatments you have, palliative care or symptom management and good support may be the prime treatment that you're getting, and I think that's what people really think about when they talk about palliative care.

The palliative care needs to happen all the way through treatment.