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With terminal illnesses like cancer, the disease is not the only thing that requires treatment. In addition to controlling the severity and spread of the main disease, the effect it has on the other body systems including emotional, social, psychological problems and also physical issues like pain and inflammation. Though the disease has reached an advanced stage and cannot be cured, the patient can be made to be pain-free and at peace to the extent possible.
The goal of palliative care is not to cure - in fact, palliative care is in place for diseases like cancer from the time it is diagnosed and treatment is begun but becomes the major component of treatment once the cancer is identified to be in terminal stages. Therapeutic care aimed at curing the cancer is gradually reduced and palliative care assumes a bigger role. This is also called as symptomatic care, supportive care, or comfort care.
Aspects of palliative care: Once the disease is identified to be in terminal stages, then the following become considerations:
- Stay at home or hospital
- Withdraw chemotherapy and radiation?
- Withdraw feeding tube
- Spiritual discussions
- Reduce anxiety
- Good quality time with the family
- Reduce pain and suffering
As is evident, there is a huge component of social/emotional/spiritual management in addition to reducing pain and suffering:
- Physical: Pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, loss of appetite are some symptoms that need to be managed. In addition to pain killers, small exercises can be included to make them feel better, even if it is just getting a breath of fresh air.
- Social: Depression (learn the ways to handle depression), anxiety, uncertainty, fear are all looming large and they are not sure how to manage these feelings. Talking to a counselor or some close family member or friend can be a big relief - the burden is off their chest.
- Legal: There could be issues related to property, insurance, property that also need to be discussed. External help can be sought if required to provide financial counselling and legal advice.
- Spiritual: Looking into the spiritual needs and understanding the deeper meaning of life, restoring faith are some things that also can help them feel better. "Why did this happen to me?" is a question most people keep asking and while there is no answer, some solace can be provided through talks.
It is to be noted that palliative care is not just for the patient. The caretakers (family and close friends) are equally in need of some support. So, once the patient is identified to be in terminal stages, all effort is made so the final leg of the journey is peaceful and as painless as possible.
High fibre in diet prevents cancer of colon,prostrate and breast,as high fibre in diet inactivate carcinogens in diet.
Persons eating red meat which is low in fibre are having higher chances of colon cancer.
A balanced plant based diet having variety of vegitables,fruits soy,nuts,whole grain and beans can lower risk of developing cancer.
Eating vegitables containig carotenoids such carrot and sprout may reduce risk of cancer of mouth,lung,laryx and pharyx.
Diet high on non starchy food such as brocholi,spinach and beans may protect against cancer of stomach and oesophagus.
Fruit like citrus and amla have vit. Cand A and protect against cancer of lung and stomach.
Food high in lycopene like tomatoes,melon and guava can reduce risk of cancer of prostrate.
Drink lot of water as it excrete all toxins from body and reduces chances of cancer.It also inhances immunity.
Limit your consumption of salt to 2.4 gm /day,which reduces risk of stomach cancer.
Sir, My mother is suffering from cervix cancer (IIIB).She already took 25 250c gy radiation with weekly chemo(cisplatin)& 3 brachytherapy treatment ,now some symptoms like mucus black stool has been seeing for 5 to 6 times per day for which she is taking the OFLOMAC OZ medicine.Sir i heard about graviola flowers (soursop) which is used as juice to kill the cancer cells directly,but providing some of the side effects such as parkinson's disease and damage to nerve cell.So then what should i do? (my question is whether i should give it or not? )if is it okay to give then what should be the dosage?
Prostate cancer is a very painful disease to go through. However, what some people do not realize is that prostate cancer is equally disturbing from a psychological viewpoint, both for the patient and the family.
Here are some psychological impacts of prostate cancer:
- Shock, fear or anger: These are immediate reactions and you could feel any or all of these feelings when the disease is first reported to you. These feelings may continue for some time, but if the patient is unable to come out of the state of the anger for a long time, then he may need psychological help.
- Denial: Sometimes, you may feel well and deny the fact that you have prostate cancer or not realize you really do. Accept it! This is the first step to curing it.
- Frustration and disappointment: Try to avoid these types of feelings and if you do, then go to a shrink as well, as these are signs of depression.
- Stress: This is also a natural feeling and will haunt you till this disease is gone. However, there are many ways to help reduce it.
- Worrying: This is usually related to the side effects in the early stages of prostate cancer. Trust your doctor. Finding a support group or talking to people in similar conditions may help.
- Mood swings: This is one of the side effects of the hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer. It may cause you to get angry and anxious and then tearful and depressed.
- Anxiety: Some men are overly worried about their prostate-specific antigen or PSA test results. The anxiety may continue even after the PSA test is over.
- Sense of loss: Hormone therapy causes many physical changes in your body, including weight gain, changes in your sex life as well as reduced physical strength. Few things will be the same after prostate cancer in all honesty. Talking to the people around you can help more than you know.
While prostate cancer can cause all sorts of negative emotions, it is crucial that you use your family to stay strong and do not slip into depression. There are also a few patients, who accept this diagnosis well, if properly counselled. In the majority of cases, prostate cancer grows slowly. In those cases, new drugs are available which help the patient lead a near normal life.