Some treatments may be used to slow, stop or eliminate the cancer, while others may be used to manage symptoms and side effects. This second type of treatment, called palliative or supportive care, is an important part of a person’s overall treatment plan and focuses on a person’s emotional and social needs. People with cancer often receive disease-directed therapy and treatment to ease symptoms at the same time.
When making treatment decisions, it is important to not only understand what you can expect your treatment plan to do in your situation but also to make sure it aligns with your personal goals for treatment. For example, someone who values being as comfortable and free from pain as possible may talk with his or her health care team about focusing on palliative care if disease-directed treatment will cause serious or unpleasant side effects.