By Vicki Strong

Do you know the difference between palliative care and hospice? While both offer “comfort care” designed to improve your quality of life, palliative care can be accessed at any time in your cancer journey, including at the point of diagnosis!
Most of us have found cancer treatments leave us with a reduced quality of life. It can be exhausting to keep up with the side-effects on our own, and to continually ask for help addressing issues. Managed palliative care can help you assess your needs and take the burden off you in looking for help with the things that reduce your quality of life now, but can also impact your quantity of life in the future.
80% of all large hospitals have a palliative care program; 55% of small to medium size hospitals. It is another reason to seek treatment at sarcoma centers in larger hospital settings!
What services can you expect from palliative care? While they will vary from facility to facility, here are some common services*:
Pain management
Sleep issues
Shortness of breath
Loss of appetite or digestive issues
To address these issues, your palliative care team may include your oncologist/sarcoma specialist, nurses, other medical specialists, nutritionists, therapists including physical, occupational, pulmonary, and integrative therapists including massage therapists.
Sleep issues
Fear or anxiety
Hopelessness and depression
Relationship struggles
To address these issues, you may want the help of mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health counselors, support groups, or marriage therapists. Complimentary therapies such as music or art therapy may also be included.
Practical issues
Job and work related
Your palliative care team should also have resources, either within their team or community referrals to help you address these practical needs.
“Ask your provider what palliative care services are available to you. Palliative care is almost always covered by health insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid. If you do not have health insurance, talk to a social worker or the hospital’s financial counselor.”*

Even with cancer, you deserve the best life possible! Don’t settle for less.


Resources: Medline