Your cancer care team is dedicated to helping you prevent and relieve your symptoms and other concerns. They can prescribe medications or teach you techniques that will help you feel physically and emotionally better. They can also help you manage practical matters, like finding accommodations during your cancer treatment, dealing with financial issues, or eating a healthy diet.
It is okay to ask for help with your symptoms and other concerns during any part of your cancer journey. Getting help with your symptoms and other concerns early in your cancer journey can help you maintain a good quality of life.
Who can help
Your primary care provider
You can ask your primary care provider, such as your family doctor or nurse practitioner, to help you with your symptoms. This can give you the support you need close to home. Not all primary care providers are trained to provide palliative care. If your primary care provider wants more support in meeting your needs, he or she may ask your cancer care team at the hospital.
Your cancer care team at the hospital
A member of your cancer care team at the hospital should talk to you about your symptoms and the symptom assessment questionnaire you complete at every clinic appointment. If you are not asked about your symptoms, point out your symptom scores when you talk with your cancer care team. This will make sure we are working together to help manage your symptoms.
If your cancer care team at the hospital wants more support in meeting your needs, a palliative care team can help.
A palliative care team
A palliative care team is specially trained to work with you and your family to prevent and relieve symptoms and other concerns. Palliative care teams may be located at your hospital or in your community.
Palliative care teams are made up of specialized nurses and doctors who work closely with social workers, registered dieticians, spiritual care providers, physiotherapists, trained volunteers and more. Some palliative care teams include home care providers who can help you with your symptoms and side effects in your home.
There are several palliative care teams in our region. A member of your cancer care team will refer you to the palliative care team that can best help you.
You can learn more about the places where palliative care is given by using the related services on the right side of this page.
How to ask for help
You can and should ask for help with your symptoms and other concerns whenever you feel you need it. This can happen at any point during your illness.
People sometimes think palliative care is only for the end of life. This misunderstanding can prevent you from getting help with your symptoms and other concerns at the time of your diagnosis or during your treatment.