Those of us specializing in palliative care strive to manage symptoms and support patients and their loved ones on how to live with and manage chronic disease. We integrate the psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of care along with providing relief from pain and other distressing symptoms. The focus of care is tailored to support each unique individual with the complex questions and scenarios arising from a chronic condition and are provided in an outpatient setting.
Is palliative care right for you, someone you love, or a patient you are treating? Here are some questions to think about:
Both of my grandmothers died from cancer. Grandma S. died of stomach cancer when I was in college. As far as I know, she was never told that her cancer had recurred after surgery. Her second husband and family wanted it that way. “Knowing that she has cancer will devastate her, let her have her hope,” we were told. When my cousins and I visited, we were under strict orders to not ask too many questions about her “gall stone” problems. She knew though. You could see it in Grandma’s eyes. But the web that had been woven kept her from being able to grieve and gave no opportunity for good byes. As she slipped away she became withdrawn and depressed.
Grandma B. was diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma when I was just out of medical school and in my training. She was fully informed by her doctors. She had opportunity to seek second opinions. She conferenced with her children. When she chose to not leave her little ranch valley in Idaho for desperate treatments far from home, and to die in her own home, her family rallied around her in support. For six weeks, she narrated her life history, wrapping up a legacy of lasting value for her family. She was the recipient of an outpouring of love from her community and she died fulfilled, with a smile of satisfaction on her face.
The science and art of medicine are ...
Each year, the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) partners with local and national organizations in an effort to help spread awareness of cancer, associated treatments, and resources available in our communities.
Summer 2014 is no different. We’ve signed on to take part in more events than ever before—and we want you to join us! As an active patient, survivor, family member, friend or advocate, your voice and participation matter.
American Cancer Society Relay for Life
These overnight community fundraising walks help raise money to fund cancer research, education, and support services like Hope Lodge®, Road to Recovery®, Look Good, Feel Better®, and Reach to Recovery®, all American Cancer Society-run programs. The Swedish Cancer Institute patients gain access to these programs throughout the Swedish network. There are several Relay for Life events going on in the Puget Sound. The Swedish Cancer Institute is taking part in:
This is often the first question I’m asked by a parent with a new cancer diagnosis. One of the most important things for parents to remember is that they know their children better than anyone else and they love them more than anyone…they can trust themselves to do this well.
Beyond that general reassurance, however, there are some practical tips for talking with children about a cancer diagnosis.
Prepare for the conversation
Think about your goals for the conversation. What does your child need to know? How you can help your child understand what’s going on? How do you want your child to feel after the talk? Who should tell your child you have cancer and can the person talking to your child stay relatively calm?
When and where should I have this conversation? You don’t have to wait until you have all the answers. Be prepared to ...