Palliative care (PC) can help relieve cancer survivors' physical symptoms and address psychosocial issues that may continue post-treatment. Symptoms following cancer often persist for months to years. Although cancer patients may benefit from the involvement of a mental health specialist, a PC specialist can provide a comprehensive assessment of both physical and psychosocial needs.
Significant quality-of-life concerns that may continue post-treatment can include pain, fatigue, weight loss or gain, insomnia, anxiety, sexuality concerns, and other problems.
Psychosocial and spiritual problems are also associated with cancer survivorship. Patients who struggle with the adjustment after cancer diagnosis and treatment may experience depression, anxiety, survivorship guilt, the challenges of living with uncertainty, and spiritual or existential distress.
Furthermore, although many patients will be long-term survivors, some may experience recurrences, develop second malignancies, or have delayed treatment effects.
Early integration of PC with survivorship care can be a key to quality cancer care.
Adapted from Medscape News & Perspective. Palliative care for cancer survivors? Available at https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/889961_2 . Accessed on December 22, 2017. To view the entire article and all other content on the Medscape News and Perspective site, a free, one-time registration is required.