Martha, who was diagnosed with metazoic breast cancer in January 2015, has penned an important piece on CureToday.com about her positive experiences with palliative care. She’s also calling for more awareness of this medical specialty.
In the piece, Martha discusses overcoming her own misconceptions of palliative care.
“I knew that palliative would come from the word palliate, which is defined as “to relieve or lessen without curing.” I can’t speak for the estimated 154,999 other people living with metastatic breast cancer right now, but when I read those words, I went cold. I suppose it was an accurate sentence, but it was also misleading,” she says.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recommends that all patients with advanced cancer receive palliative care early on and along with cancer treatment. For those newly diagnosed with advanced cancer, the recommendation is that palliative care should be offered within eight weeks of diagnosis
“This is so important for cancer patients to understand, but it’s especially crucial for people with metastatic disease – and their doctors – to get right. Palliative care addresses the issues that run alongside cancer and its treatment, as though they were hunting down even the most resilient and positive person: pain, nausea, fatigue, fear, depression, anxiety, financial concerns, sexuality and body issues. In my ever-growing circle of friends with metastatic breast cancer, there are two camps: those receiving both treatment to slow the progression of the disease and palliative care, and those who are receiving treatment and wish/urge their doctors to put into action the guidelines that ASCO so clearly lays out,” she adds.
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