Letters to the Editor

Health care: Managing side effects must be priority

Having been diagnosed with cancer at age 59, I’ve experienced firsthand how the mental and physical side effects of treatment can impact one’s quality of life, as well as affect caregivers and family.

Doctors often focus on the treatment itself. But physical ailments like pain management and nausea, as well as anxiety, are not always managed properly. Palliative care, a growing field of specialized medical care, can improve the quality of life for patients and their loved ones by focusing on symptoms of treatment for a serious disease.

Palliative care benefits patients and reduces health care costs. Our members of Congress have the power to improve lives by supporting the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act to increase access to this type of care.

I can attest to the difference palliative care made in my treatment outcome and my life. As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteer, I’m hopeful Rep. Derek Kilmer will offer his leadership in co-sponsoring this legislation that gives patients more control, makes sure their symptoms are properly managed and provides better coordination between medical providers.