Cancer Care


Palliative Care

Living with cancer means learning how to manage the pain and symptoms of not just a severe illness, but also the side effects of its treatment. If you have cancer that is spreading or recurring, then your chances of pain are that much higher. That’s where palliative care comes in.

Palliative care is commonly referred to as comfort care, supportive care, or symptom management. It is used to provide relief from pain and side affects you may be experiencing and improve your quality of life.

What Are the Types of Palliative Care?

Palliative care not only addresses the medical needs of the patient, but also their emotional, social, and mental needs. The physical and emotional effects of cancer differ for each person, and palliative care usually integrates each person’s specific needs into their care. 

Physical Side Effects

Physical side effects differ for each person, but some common symptoms and side effects include pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, insomnia, and shortness of breath. Palliative care can help ease these symptoms with medicine, physical therapy, and/or nutritional support.

Emotional Needs

Palliative care specialists can provide resources to help you cope with the emotions of receiving a cancer diagnosis. Depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and feelings of helplessness are common, and palliative care can show you ways to cope with the emotional side effects of cancer and its treatment.

Spiritual Needs

Often, getting a cancer diagnosis can bring up many spiritual questions. Some people search more deeply for meaning in their lives, while others may struggle with understanding why this happened to them. A palliative care specialist can guide people on safely exploring their beliefs and provide resources that can support them spiritually.


Caregivers play an important role in cancer care and treatments, and like the patient, they can have changing needs. Uncertainty about the situation, worry about medical bills, and lack of social support can affect caregiver health. As part of holistic cancer care, palliative care specialists also help families and friends cope and provide support.

Practical Needs

Concerns regarding financial and legal issues can also be addressed by palliative care specialists. Insurance questions, employment worries, and the goals of cancer care are all practical fields that come up in palliative care. This also includes advance directives and easing communication between all relevant parties.

Who Provides Palliative Care?

Palliative care is provided by palliative care specialists and health care practitioners with special training and/or certification in palliative care. Usually, palliative care specialists are part of a multidisciplinary oncology team, including everyone necessary for holistic cancer care—doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, psychologists, and social workers. Palliative care specialists will work closely with your oncology team to ensure you have the best quality of life possible while receiving treatment.

How Does Palliative Care Help?

People who get palliative care experience lesser pain, fewer symptoms, and side effects of cancer care. They are also less likely to need intensive care and spend less time in the hospital. Overall, people who pair palliative care with their cancer treatment end up with a higher quality of life and have an easier time managing the physical and mental impact of cancer.

When Is Palliative Care Used in Cancer Care?

You can receive palliative care in all stages of your treatment. Some people implement palliative care as they start their cancer treatment, while others might opt to get it later based on how their needs change. To know when palliative care is right for you, make sure to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and discuss your options.

Is Palliative Care the Same as Hospice Care?

Palliative care and hospice care are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. However, hospice care is a subtype of palliative care. Hospice care is care used when people need end-of-life care, in order to make their remaining time easier. Palliative care, on the other hand, is used by patients currently receiving cancer treatment who are experiencing symptoms and side effects. 

At New Jersey Cancer Care, we are dedicated to ensuring our patients experience the best quality of life possible during their cancer treatment. We aim to provide holistic care to our patients, and pain management is an important part of that. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.