Woman explaining palliative care

Palliative care is more than end-of-life care

Palliative care is not only for people who are at the end of their life. This video shows how early access to palliative care can offer physical, emotional, social and spiritual support for people with cancer at any stage.

Palliative care is more than end-of-life care

Narrator: Soon after I was diagnosed with cancer, I had pain, fatigue and some nausea and vomiting from the cancer and its treatment.

[Male patient diagnosed with cancer frowns.]

Narrator: I was also scared about my health and worried about the future.

[Patient sitting in doctor’s office talking with his oncologist.]

Narrator: I talked to my oncologist about what I was feeling. She suggested palliative care to improve my quality of life and provide comfort. She said that palliative care doesn't treat the cancer itself. Instead, it prevents and treats symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatments, and provides emotional, social and spiritual support.

[Older adults appear on screen.]

Narrator: I learned that palliative care is not only for people who are at the end of their life. That's just one part of it.

[Younger people appear on screen to join the older adults.]

Narrator: Palliative care can also be used by anyone, at any age, even when they are receiving cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. It can be provided at home, in a hospital or in a palliative care centre.

[Four health care professionals appear on screen: A home care nurse arriving to a house to provide assistance, a doctor, a dietitian producing a meal plan, and a social worker meeting with the patient’s family.]

Narrator: Everyone's palliative care team will be different, depending on the needs, where you receive care and the resources available in your area. My team had a home care nurse who visited me; a doctor to help me manage the pain; a dietitian who gave me a special diet to reduce the effects of nausea and weight loss; and a social worker who suggested ways for me and my family to manage our stress.

[The patient and his family appear walking in a park.]

Narrator: I am so thankful I got support from a palliative care team early. They worked together to help me and my family cope with living with cancer.

[Patent’s healthcare team (home care nurse, doctor, dietitian, and social worker) appear on screen with the patient to help develop a wellness plan and advance care plan.]

Narrator: As I continue my treatment, my palliative care team makes sure I’m as comfortable as possible. They can also help me develop a wellness plan and an advance care plan.

[Patient and his family are shown on screen as a young family and then they all appear to age (children grow and parents hair turns grey).]

Narrator: Like me, you may find that getting palliative care early in your cancer experience is a big help. In fact, research shows that palliative care can actually help people live longer.

[Patient talking to his doctor.]

Narrator: Talk to your doctor about palliative care. The sooner you receive it, the better.

[Canadian Cancer Society logo appears above the contact number and website. The BMO bank logo appears below as a sponsor of the Cancer Basics videos.]

Narrator: The Canadian Cancer Society can also help. Visit cancer.ca or call 1-888-939-3333.