Letters to the Editor

Cancer: Washington at forefront of palliative care

“You have cancer.” These are words nobody wants to hear, but what if those words were followed by this assurance: “We have a team of people who are going to help you and your family get through this, every step of the way.” This is the goal of palliative care legislation now moving forward in Congress.

Palliative care focuses on relieving pain, stress and other debilitating symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care specialists work with a team of professionals to provide patients and their families with an extra layer of support, treating the whole person, not just the disease. Palliative care works alongside curative treatment, at any age and any stage of a serious illness.

As a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), I want to thank Congressman Dave Reichert for co-sponsoring the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act (HR 3119) to expand access to palliative care and improve training for health care providers. With this commitment, Washington state continues to demonstrate leadership in the mission to maintain quality of life for all cancer patients and survivors.