Palliative care is a kind of medical care for people who have serious and chronic illnesses. It
is different from trying to cure your illness. Palliative care focuses on
improving your quality of life—not just in your body but also in your mind and
spirit. Some people combine palliative care with curative care.
With prostate cancer, palliative care may involve treatments to reduce
tumors or bone pain, such as
radiation therapy, radionuclides (medicine used in
external radiation) for bone metastasis, and
bisphosphonates, which slow the breakdown of bone and
help relieve bone pain. Surgery to relieve bladder problems (transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP) is
also an option.
Palliative care may help you manage symptoms or side effects from
treatment. It could also help you cope with your feelings about living with a
long-term illness, make future plans around your medical care, or help your
family better understand your illness and how to support you.
you are interested in palliative care, talk to your doctor. He or she may be
able to manage your care or refer you to a doctor who specializes in this type
For more information, see the topic
You may wish to
discuss health care and other legal issues that arise near the end of life with
your family and your doctor. You may find it helpful and comforting to state
your health care choices in writing—with an
advance directive or living will—while you are still
able to make and communicate these decisions.
You may want to
health care agent to make and carry out decisions
about your care if you should become unable to speak for yourself. Be sure to share your wishes with your family or close friends.
You can get forms from Caring Connections (www.caringinfo.org or 1-800-658-8898) or Aging With Dignity (www.agingwithdignity.org or 1-888-594-7437).
information, see the topic
Care at the End of Life.
Hospice care provides medical services,
emotional support, and spiritual resources for people who are at the end of
life. Hospice care also helps family members manage the practical details and
emotional challenges of caring for a dying loved one. For more information, see