Palliative care is a branch of conventional medicine dedicated to treating the effects of very serious illness by relieving pain, suffering and stress. It is not the same as treatment for the actual cancer, but works alongside it.

Most people think of palliative care as applying only to end-of-life care, but it can be used at any stage of the cancer journey. It is about learning how to get the very best out of life NOW, for those who may have several years or more to live, as well as those who have just a few days.

Palliative care treats the whole person: their social, emotional and spiritual needs, as well as physical considerations. It often combines complementary therapies and/or traditional medicine with conventional drugs. Ask your local health care provider for details of palliative care in your community.

Canadian Breast Cancer Network describes more about palliative care and how it can be integrated into your breast cancer treatment plan.

Another great resource for you, your family, and healthcare team is the Canadian Virtual Hospital.