What care will I receive?
What is palliative care?
If you have advanced prostate cancer, you may hear the term palliative care. It's sometimes called supportive care. Palliative care aims to manage pain and other symptoms. It aims to provide emotional, physical, practical and spiritual support. It also provides support for your family and for people looking after you.
Palliative care can be provided at any stage of advanced prostate cancer. It isn’t just for men in their final weeks and days, although it does include end of life care. Men with advanced prostate cancer might receive palliative care for many months or years.
Palliative care may include:
- treating and managing pain and other symptoms
- talking about how you’re feeling and finding ways to cope
- relaxation services, such as massage or aromatherapy
- social groups to help you enjoy life and not feel isolated
- help getting the financial and practical support you need
- support for your family and other people looking after you.
You might get this care in a hospice, hospital, care home, or your own home. Where you get this care will depend on what you need, what you prefer, and the services in your local area.
Even if you don’t need any support at the moment, it can help to know what support is available. You can get an assessment to see what support might be suitable or available for you, now or in the future.
At the end of life
You and your family should get high-quality care and support as you approach the end of your life. This care includes things like managing pain and making sure you are comfortable. You should be cared for with respect and dignity.
You should be seen regularly by a doctor. They will look at your medicines and your care, and may suggest changes based on what you need. You and your doctor should create a plan so that you know what to expect. You might hear this called an Advance Care Plan. You can tell them about the care and support you and your family need and want.
If your doctor thinks you will die very soon, they will explain this to you and the people close to you. Some people don’t want to know if they are about to die. Talk to your doctor or nurse about what you want to be told.
There isn’t a specific point in time when a doctor should refer someone for end of life care. This varies from man to man and will depend on what support you and your loved ones need.
Make sure you ask your doctor or nurse if you have any worries or questions about your care. Or speak to our Specialist Nurses.
Getting access to care
Your GP can refer you for palliative care and end of life care. Even if your doctor or nurse doesn’t bring this up, you can still ask them about it. They can explain the services in your area and what support might be suitable.
Some men don’t want to be referred for palliative care as they think it's just for people in their final weeks and days. But having palliative care will help you get the right support for you and your family.
If you’re a family member or friend of someone with advanced prostate cancer, you can also get palliative care support. Your GP can refer you for support even if your loved one doesn’t want to be referred.
Talk to your GP about getting palliative or end of life care or find services in your area on the Dying Matters website. Or you can speak to our Specialist Nurses.