Cancer affects everyone differently. The battle of cancer is influenced by many factors from the patient’s environment, support system, lifestyle to their past experiences. The physical and emotional effects can be terrifying, overwhelming, and weighing for the patient and their loved ones.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030. Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. In 2012, there were 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.
WV Caring provides quality and compassionate end-of-life care for those living with a life-limiting disease. We believe that we are stronger together. Our team helps people through the loss and grief process and offers bereavement counseling, support, education, crisis intervention, and resources to the community.
What can you do? Get informed and learn about the development of cancer, different types, treatments, and more. If you know someone who has cancer, the best way to lend support is to understand and empathize with what they are experiencing. If you are diagnosed and living with cancer, research treatment options best catered towards you, the best medical professionals, and educate yourself with the tips to staying healthy and getting into the right mindset. Being informed and up-to-date on recent research will help you fight your battle, but allow you not to be defined by your cancer. We want you to live a full life.
Read on to arm yourself for your battle with cancer and how WV Caring can help.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HOSPICE CARE AND CANCER
Cancer is a collection of related diseases where the body’s cells divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues; with the ability to form anywhere in the human body. The body makes up trillions of cells that grow and divide to create new cells. In the development of cancer, cells become abnormal while old or damaged cells survive when they should die. New cells form when they are not needed. The extra cells divide without stopping and create growths called tumors.
People with advanced stages of cancer that are facing a limited amount of time should discuss which care option would be best to move forward with, depending on the wishes of their loved one. Keep in mind that after a particular stage, treatment is no longer useful and aiding the prevention of cancer.
Consider a few basic questions before deciding on a treatment option:
- What is most important to you as you think about the end of your life?
- Where would you like to be during your final days?
- Who would you want to care for you?
- What types of treatment would you want or not want?
When should I consider beginning hospice care?
When cancer gets to the point where treatment is no longer controlling the disease, a patient can use hospice care as their next step. Hospice is one form of care for the patient and their loved ones can choose. Hospice provides family-centered and quality care for your loved one’s final days.
Patients subject to 6 months or less to live are highly recommended to consider hospice care. According to the American Cancer Society, studies show that hospice care is not started as soon as it should begin.
Hospice may take place in the patient’s home, nursing home, or hospital and will receive support from the hospice team. The focus of care is helping the patient to be as comfortable as possible with symptom management and pain control.
Common symptoms of cancer can include:
- Breast changes: lump or firm feeling in your breast or under your arm. Nipple changes or discharge. Skin that is itchy, red, scaly, dimpled, or puckered.
- Bladder changes: trouble urinating with pain and/or blood.
- Bleeding or bruising
- Bowel changes: Blood in stools, changes in bowel habits.
- Cough: Hoarseness that does not go away
- Trouble eating: Pain after eating with heartburn or indigestion that doesn’t go away, trouble swallowing, belly pain, nausea and vomiting, appetite changes.
- Fatigue: severe and doesn’t go away
- Fever or night sweats
- Mouth changes: white or red patch on the tongue or in your mouth with bleeding, pain, or numbness in the lip or mouth.
- Neurological problems: headaches, seizures, vision changes, hearing changes, drooping of the face
- Skin changes: flesh-colored lump that bleeds or turns scaly, a new mole or change in an existing mole, a sore that doesn’t heal, Jaundice (yellowing of skin and whites of eyes).
- Swelling or lumps: Anywhere, such as in the neck, underarm, stomach, and groin.
- Weight gain or weight loss
Hospice care will effectively manage symptoms through medical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The WV Caring team ensures everything is coordinated for the patient’s benefit. Hospice care is known to treat the persona and their symptoms, not focusing on treating the disease itself.
Referring your loved one to hospice care
Your doctor can help you find hospices in your area. Take into consideration the quality of care, services provided, staff expertise, and insurance coverage when deciding on the right hospice care for your loved one. Don’t forget to ask your doctor questions about hospice care to gain a deeper understanding of the programs in your area.
At WV Caring, early referrals to our hospice services allow for an established and quality plan of care in the stage of life. A patient does not have to be bedfast to receive our hospice care. We also provide services to those living in nursing homes or home-like settings. We want our patients to feel comfortable with the staff and better prepared for the end of their illness.
MANAGING YOUR CANCER WITH WV CARING
The best care is taken one patient at a time, personalized and catered to that individual. At WV Caring, our goals are to relieve pain, fear, and loneliness by focusing on taking care of the family as a whole. We want our patients to embrace life through a program of care that includes pain management, physical, spiritual, and psychological support.
If your cancer advances despite treatments, and you find your strength, energy, appetite, and overall stamina are getting weaker, be mindful of excessive medical care. It’s important to remember that the best care may be care that helps people live as comfortably and thoroughly as possible through their final days.
Programs provide medications needed to control discomfort, visits by highly skilled nurses, a team of professionals, and quick access to someone to answer questions or manage problems 24 hours a day.
If you or someone you love is living with cancer, it is wise to consider your options carefully. There is no reason to settle for less than the best.
WV Caring is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving individuals and their families transitioning through life-limiting illnesses with hospice care. They also provide outreach, education, and expertise in grief counseling. Founded in 1983, WV Caring serves 12 counties in North Central West Virginia.
The hospice care at WV Caring is patient-centered, meaning it treats the whole patient by meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the individual and their family. This type of care takes place when a person’s disease has progressed to its final stages, typically in the last six months of life expectancy.
We also offer grief and loss counseling in the communities we serve. This counseling provides support to those who have experienced a loss due to death or other life circumstances. Issues like loss of control, mobility, and the death of a parent, child or spouse, and more are addressed. This service is open to the community and is available by telephone, on-site, at home, or in one of our offices.
We are here to ensure the right care is provided at the best time and place. As a testament to the outstanding care that families received WV Caring was named as a 2018 Hospice Honors recipient by HEALTHCAREfirst. This evidence-based award was determined on hospices providing the highest level of quality as measured from a caregiver’s point of view.
When your loved one is diagnosed with a life-limiting or terminal illness, WV Caring has the expertise and resources you will need to help you through this difficult time. From beginning to end, WV Caring is here for you and your loved ones. If you have questions about our services, contact us by calling 1-866-656-9790.