Facing Palliative Chemotherapy? Here’s What to Ask Your Oncologist

 

When you hear the term palliative chemotherapy, you might be slightly confused. Generally speaking, chemotherapy is a treatment option that is used to fight cancer and extend the patient’s life expectancy.

 

However, in a palliative and hospice Las Vegas care setting, chemotherapy is sometimes used as a way to prolong a patient’s life and reduce symptoms to make them feel more comfortable.

 

If your palliative care doctor decides that chemotherapy is going to be the best course of treatment for you, there are a few things you should ask. Here are a list of those questions and the reasons why you want to ask them from a trustworthy Las Vegas hospice team.

 

Will the treatment help reduce the size of my tumor?

You want to know how well your doctor thinks the treatment is going to do when it comes to reducing the size of your tumors. The number you want to ask for is the response rate. The response rate is just the number of people whose tumors respond to the treatment and get smaller.

 

This is important because, if the response rate isn’t high enough, the treatment may not be worth the side effects you are going to experience.

 

How long will I have to go through treatment before we start seeing some kind of results?

If you have a short amount of time to live, it is unlikely that you want to spend the rest of your days going through what can be an uncomfortable treatment. So, ask your Las Vegas hospice and palliative care doctor how many cycles they expect you to undergo in order to know if it is working.

 

In most cases, two cycles of chemotherapy is the norm. However, this completely depends on the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with and how advanced it has progressed.

 

What are the side effects I can expect to experience?

Naturally, you want to know what you are going to experience as a result of undergoing the treatment. It is possible for you to experience hair loss, moderate to severe nausea and weight loss. Your family is likely to experience quite the burden watching you suffer through these symptoms.

 

If these side effects seem too severe for you, discuss this with your Las Vegas hospice doctor before you agree to the treatment.

 

Will I live longer?

This may be the most important question you can ask your palliative care doctor. If your doctor believes chemotherapy is going to help you live significantly longer, then it may be worth whatever side effects you will experience. If your doctor believes your lifespan will only improve slightly – if at all – then you must decide if you would like to proceed or choose a treatment that will allow you to enjoy the rest of your time more comfortably.

 

Will my symptoms get better?

The answer to this question is just as important as the last. If your symptoms are not going to improve drastically, then chemotherapy may be a treatment option that is just too severe. However, if your tumor is expected to respond well to treatment, then you can anticipate at least a moderate improvement in your symptoms.

 

Of course, the only way to be sure of the success of your treatment is to discuss your concerns with the best Las Vegas hospice and palliative care doctors at ProCare Hospice of Nevada. For more information about Las Vegas hospice services, contact 702.380.8300.