Cancer Care. An In Great Health eNewsletter.
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Thank you for subscribing to Cancer Care, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cancer care and prevention. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


A common misconception is that palliative care is end-of-life hospice care. In fact, palliative care is a treatment option that improves quality of life for patients who have chronic, complex health conditions.

Palliative care is a continuum of care that begins when a patient is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer. Palliative care has many benefits for patients; it's a time for them to make treatment decisions and cope with illness. In some cases, palliative care is used to help patients find meaning at the end of life.

Think of palliative care as a comprehensive service that connects patients and their families to resources that meet their needs. The primary care physician continues to direct treatment, but palliative care can help with managing symptoms, controlling pain, accessing social services, receiving support for emotional needs or arranging for home health care.

Studies have shown that patients who use palliative care have shorter hospital stays, fewer hospitalizations and fewer diagnostic services and treatments.

"I see the positive impact of the service on the care of the patient and caregivers," says Dr. Andrew Burchett, family practitioner at Avera Medical Group McGreevy 7th Avenue in Sioux Falls, S.D. "This is a vital part of the care plan for very difficult medical situations."

Palliative care programs rely on a team approach that includes expertise from family physicians, clinicians, social workers, chaplains, nurses and others. Palliative care programs are available at Avera facilities in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Yankton, S.D. Ask your doctor if palliative care is a good choice for you.

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Meeting with other people who are being treated for, coping with or recovering from cancer is an important part of treatment for some patients. Support groups help people understand their disease better and receive emotional support they need during this difficult time. Support groups are available for cancer patients, cancer survivors and their families.

Talking to other people who have had similar experiences can be comforting because they understand your feelings in a way that someone unaffected by cancer may not.

Some support groups are more focused on education about the disease, which helps some people cope with diagnosis and treatment. One such program, A Time to Heal, is a 12-week education and rehabilitation program for cancer patients undergoing treatment. Other support groups focus on specific types of cancers.

Besides support groups, many Avera facilities offer one-time educational sessions on important topics, such as nutrition during cancer treatment. Support groups and educational sessions are good resources for you, but remember that you can contact your health care providers at any time if you have questions about cancer or treatment. Contact your local Avera facility for a listing of support groups near you.

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In Great Health online archive.

Cancer Care is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.