Desai MJ, Kim A, Fall PC, Wang D. Optimizing Quality of Life Through Palliative Care. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2007;107(suppl_7):ES9–ES14. doi: .
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Many developments have occurred in prevention and treatment of cancer, but death from this disease is still common. Of the 58 million people who died worldwide in 2005, 7.6 million died of cancer (http://www.who.int/cancer/en/). For dying patients, it is most important to improve quality of life and relieve suffering. Palliative care is the active total care of patients whose medical condition is not responsive to curative treatment. It encompasses all therapeutic modalities designed to enhance quality of life rather than eliminating disease. Each patient's definition of quality of life is unique, and therefore, it is important to treat each as an individual and holistically. Controlling cancer-related symptoms can ameliorate the limited remaining time patients have with family and friends. Palliative chemotherapy, rehabilitation, radiation therapy, surgery, and interventional pain management can help to achieve this objective.
In this online update of an article published in a 2005 series on pain management, a case presentation describes the typical course of a patient with cancer who receives palliative care to reduce pain.
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