Importance of palliative care at diagnosis for children with cancer. Article by Lorna Sithole

She writes: Medpage Today recently published an interesting piece by Jennifer Mack, MD, PHD about the importance of managing children’s symptoms after being diagnosed with cancer.

Recent research undertaken by St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital was the first to explore symptom management and palliative care in children recently diagnosed with cancer. The study highlighted some distressing findings, such as majority of patients reported nausea, pain, loss of appetite, depression and other symptoms from time of diagnosis and early treatment. Irrespective of these disturbing symptoms, the research found that palliative care was still solely recommended for end-of-life care instead of being integrated from the time of diagnosis to manage symptoms and promote quality of life.

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, overwhelmed parents and patients are often laser-focused on the path to cure. Even though parents do not welcome pain or discomfort for their child, they may feel that symptoms are a necessary cost of curative care. Likewise, it is easy for us, as paediatric oncologists, to accept symptoms and side effects of treatment as normal,”

writes Jennifer Mack, MD, PHD. Mack is a paediatric oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, she has also completed a fellowship in palliative care.

Read the article:



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