What is Supportive Oncology?
Supportive oncology is a comprehensive approach to cancer care. Supportive oncology includes palliative care that is designed for patients who are receiving treatment for symptomatic cancers and includes a comprehensive approach to maximizing quality of life.
What Kind of Patients Benefit From Supportive Oncology?
Patients who have troubling symptoms from cancer can be helped by palliative care, such as patients with:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite, loss of weight
Patients whose symptoms are well controlled are better able to complete their courses of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
What Does Supportive Oncology Include?
Supportive Oncology includes:
- Medical treatments to reduce distressing symptoms.
- Support for patients and their family members.
- Developing plans of care to optimize quality of life.
- Advance care planning to support your choices about treatment and ensure that your family and doctors know your priorities about medical care.
- Assistance with finding community resources to support you during your illness.
- Treatment and Support from:
- Physicians Board Certified in Palliative Medicine
- Nurse Practitioners trained in Palliative Care
- Social Workers trained in Palliative Care
When Should I Consider Supportive Oncology?
You should consider Supportive Oncology at any point you feel the need for help with symptom control or supportive services, whether or not you are receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other treatments.
Should I See a Palliative or Pain Management Specialist For Treatment of Symptoms?
Palliative specialists can treat pain along with other symptoms and provide other support for you and your family. Pain specialists are best for treating chronic pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis or shingles. However, a pain specialist may be needed for specific treatments such as nerve blocks.
How Does Supportive Oncology Fit Into My Care?
The Palliative Care Team will provide supportive oncologic care working closely with your oncologist and your primary physician, as well as with other specialists.