Myth: My oncologist referred me to the Palliative Medicine Specialist because I am dying soon.
Fact: Palliative care focuses on improving the patients’ quality of life by managing pain and other distressing symptoms. Patients with serious illnesses will eventually have to face end-of-life issues, but up till then, it is important to have pain and other distressing symptoms under control. Therefore, where there is a need, a Palliative Medicine Specialist should be involved early in the disease’s management, while the patient is still receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Some recent studies show that many patients who receive palliative care may live longer than those receiving only standard care.
Myth: The Palliative Medicine Specialist always use Morphine for pain relief.
Fact: Morphine and other opioid medicine are useful in the control of moderate to severe cancer pain. However, pain can be complex. A patient may experience pain due to various reasons, hence requiring the use of different groups of medication rather than Morphine alone. With proper pain assessment, the Palliative Medicine Specialist can provide a combination of medicine to provide the best pain relief with acceptable side effects.
Myth: I have to stay in the hospital to receive specialist palliative care.
Fact: Palliative care can be offered in many places, including hospitals, clinics, in-patient hospice and your own home. At Parkway Cancer Centre, the palliative care team provide care wherever the patient is. They see patients in the hospital ward when the patients are hospitalised, in the clinics after they are discharged, or in the patient’s home when it is difficult for the patient to travel to the clinics.