1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. This disease itself claims the lives of hundreds of thousands each year- affecting women around the world. Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast, some cancer is limited to a certain area of the breast while others can spread to healthy tissues or other parts of the body.
Cancer stages are based on four determinants: The size of the cancer, whether or not it’s invasive, if it has spread to the lymph nodes, and if it’s reached other parts of the body beyond the breast. Stage IV, the last stage, is described an invasive breast cancer that has spread (metastasized) beyond the breast and lymph nodes to other organs like the lungs, bones, liver, etc. Stage IV can happen upon the first diagnosis or it can be relapsing cancer that has spread.
At some point a person may have to make a decision regarding the benefits of a certain course of treatment for stage IV cancer, against the burdens of that treatment. What matters most may be the ability to be with loved ones and to fully enjoy the time that’s left. Many invasive cancer patients choose hospice at some point, but some, also choose hospice too late. The earlier someone elects hospice services the more benefit they and their family receive. Although aggressive treatment for the cancer is stopped once hospice starts, treatments to improve quality of life along with pain and symptom management persist. Hospice also provides special support to family, friends, and loved ones-including caregivers. The hospice professionals will make sure that you are fully informed and well-prepared for what’s to come every step of the way.
Hospice care leaves the patient in control and focuses on LIVING. Not only do hospice patients experience a better quality of life, they sometimes actually live longer than they would with conventional care. For those with a life-limiting illness such as Stage IV breast cancer, fighting your hardest to live on can make living itself very difficult. Remember, even in the face of a serious disease, there’s hope.
To learn more about CompassionCare, hospice, and how we can help-call us today at 702-636-0200.