Symptom Management and Emotional Support Can Help Improve Quality of Life
BALTIMORE, MD (November 15, 2018) – The Maryland Cancer Collaborative (MCC) has released a PSA that illustrates how cancer patients can benefit from palliative care as they cope with pain and other symptoms that negatively affect their quality of life.
The three-minute PSA features cancer survivor, Cathy Miller, who describes how palliative care has helped her with pain and symptom management and provided emotional support. “I found peace — and palliative care helped with me finding that peace,” says Miller, noting that she resisted receiving palliative care for two and a half years before enrolling in a program.
“Palliative care is an important resource for patients diagnosed with cancer, yet many people may not know what palliative care is or how to access these supportive services for themselves or a loved one undergoing treatment,” says MCC Chair and Associate Professor, Family and Community Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine Niharika Khanna, MBBS, MD, D.G.O. “We hope that this video will shed light on how palliative care can help improve quality of life for cancer patients and will increase the overall public awareness of these valuable services.”
The MCC is a statewide partnership of individuals and organizations, housed within and supported by the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program within the Center for Cancer Prevention and Control at the Maryland Department of Health. They work to implement Maryland’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan and reduce the burden of cancer in Maryland.
Dr. Khanna presented the video — produced by the MCC’s Communications Workgroup — at the 25th Annual Maryland State Council on Cancer Control Conference at the Anne Arundel Medical Center. The video is now available online at https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/cancer/cancerplan/Pages/Palliative-Care-Resources.aspx, along with a list of palliative care resources.
In the video, Miller describes how palliative care has enabled her to shed the constant worry associated with her cancer diagnosis and move on with her life — including pursuing her passion for coaching girls’ field hockey. Also featured in the video are Maggie Kuhnlein, LCSW-C, a palliative medicine social worker at Anne Arundel Medical Center who worked with Miller, and Helen Gordon, MD, director of palliative care at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. They both offered perspectives on what palliative care is — and what it isn’t.
“Our hope is that this video will help people better understand how palliative care can support cancer patients both physically and emotionally,” says Elizabeth Platz, ScD, MPH, outgoing MCC chair and deputy director of the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “This type of symptom management and supportive care is available to patients and their families throughout their cancer journey. Palliative care is different from hospice care for patients at the end of their lives.”
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