The Goals of Palliative Chemotherapy Are To:
- Relieve Symptoms – By reducing but not eliminating a tumor, palliative treatments may be used to improve symptoms caused by lung cancer. Examples of symptoms that might be treated this way include pain and shortness of breath.
- Slow Progression of Cancer – Sometimes palliative chemotherapy can slow the growth of cancer and extend life, even though it does not cure the cancer.
- Improve Quality of Life – By reducing symptoms such as shortness of breath, palliative treatments may improve well-being and quality of life.
Questions to Ask:
- Should I expect that this chemotherapy will lengthen my survival?
- What are the side effects I may experience from the chemotherapy vs the symptoms we are trying to relieve?
- How long do people usually respond to this type of chemotherapy?
- What will this chemotherapy mean for me? What is the cost? Will I have to travel for treatment?
- How soon will I know if it is making a difference?
- If I choose to take palliative chemotherapy, will that disqualify me from being in a hospice program?
Audrey, S. et al. What oncologists tell patients about survival benefits of palliative chemotherapy and implications for informed consent: qualitative study. British Medical Journal. 2008. 337:.752. doi: 10.1136/bmj:a752.
Harrington, S. and T. Smith. The role of chemotherapy at the end of life: “when is enough, enough?”. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008. 299(22):2667-78.