Palliative care for advanced prostate cancer

Palliative care focuses on your physical, psychological and spiritual needs rather than trying to cure or control the cancer. It helps you to get the best quality of life available to you by relieving suffering and controlling pain and symptoms. It also focuses on how to relieve any emotional distress you might be experiencing.
You may be referred to the palliative care team in your area when you have just a few symptoms. Palliative care teams often work together with the medical team to help you deal with any cancer- related symptoms that you might have from your prostate cancer. Sometimes you will have treatments like radiotherapy while being cared for by the palliative care team too.
You can read more in our palliative care web section.

When to get palliative care

Palliative care can be offered at any stage of advanced prostate cancer alongside other treatments - it is not just in the final stages of life. The palliative care team is expert in managing pain, nausea, sleep difficulties, tiredness or constipation or any other unpleasant symptoms. A team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals and pastoral care workers will be responsible for your care. 
Often having the added input of palliative care will positively influence the course of your illness. It can help you to understand better what to expect, how to manage uncomfortable symptoms and how to live a life that has a sense of meaning to it.
Often a sense of deepening grief may be present when you are living with an advanced prostate cancer.  For some it may lead to a sense of withdrawal from others as you to try to make some sense of what is happening. The palliative care team will be there to help you to deal with all these feelings and offer you emotional and spiritual support. They will also support your family members and carers throughout this time.

How can I get palliative care?

Your GP, public health nurse or hospital team can refer you to the specialist palliative care service close to where you live. Palliative care may be given in the hospital, hospice or in your own home.
At home the palliative care doctor and nurse may visit you regularly to see how you are managing and advise you on how to manage and prevent any new or on-going symptoms you may be experiencing. 
You may also be able to attend a hospice under their daycare services. You may be able to spend a day or so a week there receiving treatment and support. You may also have the opportunity to try complementary therapies and meet with others.In the later stages of cancer, palliative care can also help people to prepare for the end of life. You can talk to your doctor and nurse for more advice. If you do not feel well enough, your family can do so.
If you would like to know more about palliative care, our Palliative care - frequently asked questions webpage has information on palliative care at home, the effect on emotions and relationships and managing symptoms and medication.The Irish Cancer Society can arrange night nurses who provide end-of-life care for cancer patients and their families in their own home.  Find out more information on Irish Cancer Society Night Nursing.

Call our Cancer Nurseline

Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 6pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm.



Date Last Reviewed: 
Monday, October 19, 2015
Date Last Revised: 
Monday, October 19, 2015