Palliative treatment of cancer

The duration of palliative treatment for cancer ranges from months and years to a few days. Treatment of the cancer with antineoplastic drugs or radiotherapy may alleviate the symptoms of a patient in a better condition efficiently, while care and alleviation of pain are central in the treatment of a dying patient. At each stage of the disease the aim is to find therapies with beneficial effects outweighing the adverse effects. The treatment alternatives given in this article should be considered from this perspective. Also in curative treatment, it is important to effectively alleviate symptoms caused by the disease or treatment. These recommendations may be used when applicable. Discuss treatment alternatives with the patient. Explain the probable aetiology of the symptoms, engage family members in the treatment, and consult with specialists.