Palliative Care for Liver Cancer: What to Expect

Cancer is a word that most dread hearing, as it means facing the possibility of losing your life. However, liver cancer is an exceptionally uncommon kind of cancer, accounting for only 5 percent of all cancers. There aren’t many palliative care providers specializing in treating liver cancer, so it’s important to get as much information as possible.

Primary liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is the second most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that an estimated 16,660 people will be diagnosed with primary liver cancer in 2019. While surgery, liver transplantation, and chemotherapy remain the most common treatment options for primary liver cancer, palliative care can be extremely helpful for these patients. Palliative care, typically defined as supportive care focused on comfort rather than a cure, can relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life. At the same time, patients receive treatment for their primary illness.

Palliative care is a specific type of medical or medical care that is designed to help people manage symptoms of their illnesses, such as pain and nausea. For people with cancer, it can also relieve symptoms of fatigue and depression. For more information on palliative care, the National Palliative Care Research Center has a list of resources.

Palliative care for liver cancer is far from a new practice. It’s one of the oldest forms of treatment available. It was originally developed by Sir Alexander Fleming nearly 100 years ago, and it’s the type of care doctors give to those who have an end-stage or terminal illness.

An in-depth discussion about your symptoms, effects, and treatment 

Palliative care, or symptom management, is a specific type of medical care for people who have serious illnesses or diseases that cause symptoms that interfere with daily life. Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for people with serious illnesses, regardless of prognosis.

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems like illness or disability. This care is provided through a range of services, including physical, social, psychological, and spiritual support. It extends far beyond the treatment of disease and focuses on other concerns, like emotional, social, practical, and financial issues. Many patients will also get help with pain management.

It’s important to understand that your health can change rapidly as you experience symptoms of liver cancer. Mild symptoms may not be noticeable until you experience severe ones, and many patients do not experience any symptoms at all during their cancer. Some patients with advanced liver cancer may have a tumor that has not begun to spread beyond the liver. If your doctor suspects your liver cancer has spread beyond the liver, you may be referred to a palliative care specialist who will help your medical team provide you with the best care possible. Specialists are trained in medical care that focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and side effects that accompany serious illnesses, such as cancer. If you have a serious or chronic illness and are interested in learning more about palliative care services, talk to your doctor.

Develop a plan used to fulfill your goals, ease your symptoms, and enjoy the rest of your life 

The close relationship between liver disease and cancer has long been recognized, but only recently have physicians begun to utilize palliative care for liver cancer treatment. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) notes that palliative care is “a philosophy of care emphasizing quality of life.” It assists patients in achieving the highest quality of life possible, usually by treating the symptoms, pain, and stress associated with their disease. Palliative care specialists work with cancer patients and their physicians to determine the right course of treatment, including medication, radiation, surgery, and lifestyle changes.

Palliative care is available to anyone of any age who has a serious illness. It relieves pain, stress, nausea, depression, fatigue, and other symptoms that often accompany serious illnesses. The goals of palliative care are to ease symptoms, improve quality of life, and, when appropriate, slow or stop disease progression. Palliative care helps patients not only live longer but live better.

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