Tag Archive for: Terminal Cancer

Arranging Comprehensive End-of-Life Care for Elders with Cancer

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Cancer is a disease no one wants to face. But whether you are the one with cancer or caring for a loved one, contending with a cancer diagnosis inevitably takes a toll. Sometimes, the outcome does not come in the form of remission. Sometimes, it is greeting the new day or taking the next breath.

For some, the outcome is making one’s final days comfortable, meaningful, and peaceful. The reality is that all of us will someday transition out of this life and, for some, cancer will be the reason.

If you or someone you love is facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, planning for end-of-life care makes it possible to meet this last stage of the disease with the dignity, comfort, and peace of mind you and your loved ones deserve.

The Benefits of Remaining at Home

Many people faced with a terminal diagnosis find security and comfort in the ability to remain in their own homes. However, there are some steps that should be taken to ensure that the home is safe and comfortable for someone with an advanced stage of cancer.

Many of the same steps that can be taken to prepare a home for a senior can be used to ensure accessibility for those with cancer. This would include, for example, securing down rugs, removing other obstacles that may pose a fall risk, installing grab bars in bathrooms, and retrofitting doorways and shower stalls for wheelchair access.

In addition to ensuring that the home is safe, secure, and comfortable, it’s also helpful to recruit in-home caregivers to address patients’ evolving needs. For example, home-based caregivers can run errands, help patients with household chores and personal care, including bathing and dressing, and provide much-needed companionship and support.

In-home caregivers can also greatly amplify the benefits of enabling patients to remain at home when nearing the end of life by making it possible for them to remain with friends, family, and their beloved companion animals.

There are few things more comforting than the love of a family pet, and for those facing aggressive cancer, the benefits of simply stroking a purring feline or cuddling with a fluffy puppy cannot be overstated. Companion animals have been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, alleviate depression and anxiety, and promote an overall sense of happiness and well-being. And there is perhaps nothing more precious or more important when you are facing the end of your life than that.

Enlisting Hospice and Palliative Care

For a patient confronting terminal cancer, the love and care of family and friends can be an incomparable source of support, comfort, and companionship. Nevertheless, there are times when a patient’s needs surpass the capabilities of non-professional caregivers.

In times like this, enlisting the services of skilled care providers can mean all the difference to a patient’s comfort and overall quality of life. Hospice care services, for example, are by no means limited to the final stages of a patient’s life.

Hospice care can be enlisted relatively early on following a terminal diagnosis. Similar to palliative care, these skilled nurses and clinicians can offer in-home services to help with disease management and pain control; supporting patients’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being to the greatest extent possible and for as long as possible.

Financial Planning

Anyone who has faced a cancer diagnosis knows that, even with the best medical insurance, cancer can be an obscenely expensive disease. Financial stress relating to cancer treatments can be devastating. Patients who are nearing the end of their lives may experience extreme distress over the perceived financial burden they are leaving their loved one.

This is why effective financial planning is an essential aspect of comprehensive end-of-life care. As profound as the financial weight of cancer care may be for families, there is a range of resources available to help fund treatment and travel, including grants and stipends made available through the American Cancer Society and related organizations. In addition, medical debt forgiveness and low or no-interest repayment plans are available through many health systems.

Proactively pursuing a strong financial plan when you or someone you love is facing the end stages of a terminal diagnosis can provide immense peace of mind, allowing you and your loved ones to focus on what matters most: building memories and cherishing your time together.

The Takeaway

Cancer is cruel and sometimes the best outcome is not allowing it to rob you or your loved one of peace and joy in the final stages of life. Creating a comprehensive end-of-life plan for yourself or someone you love is a difficult, highly emotional journey. Nevertheless, being proactive regarding end-of-life care is an important and empowering act — one that ensures that you and your loved ones find peace, comfort, and security in this final stage of life.

October 2022 Notable News

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The month of October brings exciting legislature to help patients afford available cancer treatments. Once passed, this legislature could make cancer treatment equitable and affordable while having a profound impact on the future. Scientists have created a new cancer vaccine for high risk melanoma patients that when given in combination with a cancer medication has encouraging results. Scientists have also found an experimental treatment for cancer that uses a modified herpes virus that has very promising early results. Lawmakers have an impact on cancer treatment by regulating laws that govern the insurance companies and are equally as important as the scientists finding the new cancer treatments.

Insurance Companies Shouldn’t Decide Which Cancer Treatment You Get. That Could Change.

There is a term that is familiar to cancer patients and providers, financial toxicity. Financial toxicity is when patients cannot afford the available treatment for their cancer. New options for cancer treatment are available; it used to be just IV medications but now there are oral medications to treat cancer. Insurance companies do not look at the two cancer treatments the same. They often deny coverage or impose huge out of pocket costs for the oral medication despite that doing so puts the patient at risk and violates the doctor-patient relationship by ignoring a prescribed treatment plan, in favor of saving money reports CharlotteObserver.com. There is legislation in front of congress called Cancer Drug Parity Act that could change this for cancer patients. This Act asks for the health plan to cover the level of cost share for all different kinds of cancer medications; it would assure the patients under the plan would get the treatment that they needed. There have been 40 states that have passed legislation regulating insurance plans, this act addresses the federal government. This legislation keeps the decision about cancer treatment between the patient and the oncologist. Click to read the full story.

A Cancer Vaccine for High-Risk Melanoma Patients

Scientists have created a cancer vaccine for Stage-2 melanoma that is custom for each patient. This vaccine is based on messenger RNA technology. The goal of Moderna’s vaccination is to stimulate the immune system to release killer T cells that specifically target particular mutations in patients reports HealthDigest.com. Scientists will give the vaccine with a drug already FDA approved called Keytruda. Keytruda is a monoclonal antibody that is already used to treat certain cancer types. Melanoma is a skin cancer that starts in the cells that make melanin and it is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. It is caused by UV exposure from the sun or tanning bed and the UV rays damage DNA. Early detection increases survivability. Wearing sunscreen that blocks the damaging UV rays is important for prevention of melanoma. This vaccine in combination with Keytruda offers hope for people at high risk of developing melanoma. Click to read the full story.

Experimental Treatment With Modified Herpes Virus Cured Terminal Cancer

Scientists have managed to wipe out terminal cancer using a modified version of the herpes virus. A patient in a trial for the cancer-extermination virus saw his cancer completely disappear after the treatment. Over 15 months later, he has remained cancer free, according to the Institute of Cancer Research in London reports BGR.com. This treatment is still in it is early stages but is offering positive results and hope for cancer patients.There have been other viruses used to treat disease and cancer, the safety of the virus dosage is scientists biggest concern. The virus multiplies in the tumor and causes the tumor to burst from the inside out. The virus also increases the immune system’s ability to kill the cancer. Viruses help scientists target the cancer cells specifically. It is an example of looking at something that typically harms the body, in a new light to kill cancer. Click to read full story.