Palliative treatment

Read about palliative treatment and how it can be used to relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

About palliative treatment

Palliative treatment is designed to relieve symptoms, and improve your quality of life. It can be used at any stage of an illness if there are troubling symptoms, such as pain or sickness.

It can also be used to reduce or control the side effects of cancer treatments. In advanced cancer, palliative treatment might help someone to live longer and to live comfortably, even if they cannot be cured.

The treatment is not limited to painkillers and anti sickness drugs. Cancer treatments can also reduce or get rid of symptoms. For example, they can help to reduce pain by shrinking a tumour and reducing pressure on nerves or surrounding tissues. Treatments used in this way include:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • hormone therapy
  • targeted cancer drugs
  • radiofrequency ablation
  • cryotherapy

Side effects

You might have some side effects from palliative cancer treatments. But the aim is to make you feel better, so your cancer specialist will try to choose treatments that have as few side effects as possible.

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