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Some cancers can't be cured. This does not always mean that you will die from the cancer. Medical, nursing and emotional support can be offered at home, in hospital or in a hospice over a long period of time.
What are palliative care and supportive care?
- Palliative care is care for, and control of, your symptoms, rather than the treatment of the disease itself. It may include palliative chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery.
Some patients are too ill to cope with these powerful treatments, or the cancer is not responding to them. In this case, palliative care (sometimes called supportive care) aims to give good pain and symptom control by other means. More on Palliative care can be found here.
- Supportive care includes care for your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It involves and supports your family and carers too. In its widest sense, supportive care starts with the first tests that you have, and is the concern of all the healthcare professionals that you meet throughout your treatment.
Supportive care aims to help you to live well and have the best possible quality of life, even if your cancer can't be cured. If this is the case, you may receive specialist palliative care in hospital, at home, in a care home or in a hospice. The pattern of your care will be decided by you and the multidisciplinary team which has looked after you so far, including your GP. More on Supportive care can be found here.
The two links above will take you to dedicated information sections on both Palliative and Supportive Care. Both of these sections also contain links to other websites, leaflets and books for more information and advice.