Palliative medicine

Supporting you through every step of your cancer journey

Overview

Palliative care aims to provide people with the best possible quality of life, allowing them to live as comfortably as possible while living with a life-limiting illness.

Services

At Icon we walk with patients through every step of the cancer journey and believe palliative medicine is an important part of providing a comprehensive approach to care. We provide a holistic approach to palliative care based on the individual needs of patients and their families. This may include:

Relief of pain and cancer-related symptoms

Living with an advanced cancer often involves severe pain and ongoing side-effects from medications and treatments. We help patients manage these symptoms and relieve pain. This may be via:

  • Further advanced treatments, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapy
  • Referral to a surgeon. Surgery can reduce tumours causing pain and ongoing symptoms
  • Medications to help control and relieve symptoms and discomfort
  • Referral to allied health and ongoing pain management services

Wound care

Palliative wound care is particularly important for wounds that do not respond to treatment and/or where the demands of treatment are particularly painful or uncomfortable. We will support you to develop a comprehensive strategy for palliative wound management that focuses on improving quality of life for you and your family.

Nutrition support

Navigating nutrition and hydration considerations can be challenging for patients and their families. We provide access to nutrition counselling, information and support through our visiting oncology dietitian, both at our centres and through telemedicine.

Care at home

We are able to help evaluate and connect you with appropriate support services if you require specialised at home care. Your doctor and care team will be able to assist in determining the specialised equipment you may need and provide referrals to reputable care providers.

Home delivery of medication

We are dedicated to supporting you to access the care you need. If you are too unwell to attend our centre, we offer delivery of medication directly to your door to ensure you can continue to rest comfortably at home.

Access to support services

We understand coping with advanced cancer can be a distressing time for patients and their loved ones. We will help connect patients and their families and carers to appropriate support services such as psychologists, counsellors, and specialised grief support services.

End-of-life care and planning

As patients and their families begin to prepare for end-of-life arrangements our team will be there to support you through this time. Our doctors and care team will continue to relieve distress and manage ongoing pain and symptoms to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. We are also able to connect you to appropriate services for advanced care planning and help patients to document their medical treatment choices.

Frequently asked questions

Who is palliative care for?

Palliative care is a holistic approach to patients, families and carers and offers people with practical and emotional support. It is for people of any age who have been given an uncurable diagnosis and aims to offer patients a comfortable quality of life.

How can I access palliative care?

Palliative care at Icon is available to all patients. Our specialist palliative medicine doctor will be able to talk you through palliative care and treatment options and work alongside you and your family to determine the most appropriate care path.

Is chemotherapy suitable for palliative care?

Depending on your individual cancer diagnosis, certain chemotherapy and targeted therapies can help slow the growth of cancer cells spreading throughout the body.

How can radiation therapy help people with advanced cancer?

Particular radiation therapy treatment regimes can benefit patients living with advanced cancers by:

  • Relieving pain – Palliative radiation therapy helps to relieve pain caused by tumours in the bone, as well as tumours pressing on particular nerves.
  • Spinal cord compression – tumours in and around the spinal cord can cause serious and debilitating pain, radiation therapy treatment can bring pain relief.
  • Bleeding – coughing up blood is a common side effect of advanced tumours in the airway. Bleeding can also occur with tumours found in the rectum, vagina, or urinary tract. Radiation can help manage bleeding.
  • Obstruction of airway – Tumours can block the oesophagus often making it difficult to breath and swallow food, this can be relieved with ongoing palliative radiation.
Are complementary therapies effective for advanced cancers?

Some complementary therapies such as meditation, yoga, massages, and acupuncture can improve side effects and manage stress and anxiety. They can be used alongside traditional treatments but you should inform your doctor if you are using any complementary therapies.

Are clinical trials an option?

Clinical trials that test new or modified treatments may help improve quality of life for advanced cancer patients. If you would like more information on clinical trials please speak with your doctor.

Our palliative care specialist

Dr Francis Chin

“Our Icon team will try our best to ensure more patients across Singapore and surrounding regions find comfort with the best possible quality of life. Patients that have a life-limiting illness have many challenges, including pain, discomfort and difficulties in finding support. This is why having personalised, comprehensive care available that meets the needs of themselves and their family throughout their cancer journey is so important.”

To read Dr Chin’s full biography, click here.

Making an appointment

We are here to help you navigate this difficult time and offer both in-person and telemedicine consultations.
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Our doctors

Our doctors deliver personalised, evidence-based care to support patients through their cancer treatment.
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Families and carers

We know that a cancer diagnosis impacts the whole family. Learn where to find support while caring for a loved one.
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