Best care for cancer patients
To the editor:
When our loved one receives a cancer diagnosis, we hope for the best care possible. In addition to primary treatment for the cancer itself, a holistic approach to cancer treatment includes palliative care, specialized care for patients with serious illnesses, which is not limited to cancer, but includes any serious life-threatening illness. Palliative care can be given at any stage and focuses on improving quality of life through pain and stress management, as well as psychological support.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of resources available for health care professionals related to palliative care. In particular, there is little to no training in medical and nursing schools for pain management and current NIH funding for pain research hovers below 1percent of the total NIH budget.
Excitingly, the House of Representatives (thank you to Rep. Clark) has made progress on the palliative care front by overwhelmingly passing the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), which is now heading to the Senate. PCHETA will significantly improve palliative care by creating education programs to support expanded training for health care professionals. By increasing pain management training and supporting better team-based care, this bill will lead to more efficient and effective care and will hopefully lead to more efficient and informed opioid prescribing. The bill also expands NIH funding for pain research, which will bolster development of new and innovative ways to treat pain.
By supporting this bill, we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of palliative care.
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)