My wife was just diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. There are no options for treatment and the doctor is recommending hospice. Can you help us find some resources for dealing with this and how we tell our family?
Ursina Teitelbaum, MD, Medical Oncologist at Penn Medicine responds:
I have many patients that live longer with hospice than they do with conventional chemotherapies so this in fact may be a life prolonging fit for her. Hospice is a program of total body care directed at managing side effects and symptoms of the cancer. This holistic approach really enables patients to live longer and feel better. Hospice organizations also provide support to the whole family so they might be a great start to research local resources and give you input on how to tell family members. I usually tell patients and their families to make the most of the time they have with loved ones and friends and to tell them sooner than later so they can have the time for meaningful discussions and closure.
Christina Bach, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine adds:
You can access great information about advanced care planning and hospice care through the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
There is great educational information about a variety of end of life care topics as well as how to plan and how to access local hospice resources
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from the Focus on Pancreatic Cancer Webchat.