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Men's Health Congress

What really is palliative treatment?

MedExpress Team


Published June 30, 2023 11:01

What really is palliative treatment? - Header image
- Thanks to innovative therapies, patients undergoing palliative treatment can live with their disease for many years, argued experts participating in the panel "Palliative treatment - how medical advances are changing patients' perspectives" at the 2nd Men's Health Congress.

Prof. Maciej Krzakowski, national consultant in clinical oncology, stressed that palliative treatment is not at all limited to oncology. And it does not at all mean treatment at the end of life. - We deal with palliative treatment when the therapies used are unable to cure the causes of the disease, he explained. In this sense, palliative treatment is used, for example, for patients suffering from diabetes or hypertension, for whom medicine can currently offer "only" to slow down the progression of the disease and prevent the appearance of complications, but in their case palliative treatment has "better PR" and absolutely no inappropriate association. In oncology, on the other hand, it is common. - When we talk about palliative treatment in oncology, we are actually talking about two different stages. In the first, where the goal is to halt the progression of the disease or achieve remission, surgery, radiation therapy, systemic therapy and pharmacotherapy come into play. In the second, it is primarily about alleviating the symptoms of the disease, not strictly anticancer treatment. But also in this stage, all the methods mentioned above are used, but there is also supportive treatment, including psycho-oncological support," he explained.

Palliative treatment affects the vast majority of patients in some cancers, the expert said. - In the case of pancreatic cancer, 80 percent of patients already have generalized disease at the time of diagnosis, when there is no question of a cure, the only option is to prolong life. In this cancer alone, that's 3,000 patients. In the case of lung cancer, one in two patients has no chance of radical treatment, 10,000 people a year. Patients with progression of the disease are also eligible for palliative treatment, he calculated. Palliative treatment from the moment of diagnosis also applies to 60 percent of patients with stomach cancer and 30 percent. - with kidney cancer.

- We need to change the perception of palliative treatment in social, patient and also medical terms," admitted Prof. Krzakowski. Because while in oncology ...

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