European Journal of Palliative Care - 1998

Complications of radiotherapy for gynaecological malignancy
Karen Forbes
pp 175-178
The incidence of the common gynaecological tumours differs in developing and western countries, and is changing in both. The incidence of ovarian cancer is increasing and that of cervical cancer is falling, such that in the developed world, ovarian cancer deaths now exceed those due to cervical and endometrial cancer combined. In the UK, about 8,000 of the 15,000 women diagnosed as having gynaecological malignancy annually will die from their disease.
Treating the anorexia of cancer
Trevor Rimmer
pp 179-181
Anorexia is a common problem in advanced malignancy. It is the absence of appetite despite obvious nutritional needs. One study showed that anorexia was present in 78% of cancer patients during the last year of life – the second most common symptom. However, it ranked tenth in ‘distressing’ symptoms, suggesting that other problems may be more important to patients.
The educational needs of lay carers
Peter Hudson, Sanchia Aranda and Linda Kristjanson
pp 183-186
Contemporary palliative care philosophy promotes coordinated interdisciplinary care in an attempt to enhance the quality of life in individuals confronted with a life threatening illness. Care is ideally provided in an environment of the patient’s choice, and focus is given to the holistic care of the patient and their family and friends. In Australia over the past decade, palliative care has increasingly been provided within the home environment. It is presumed that this trend might also be evident in other western countries.
An exploration of the meaning of dignity in palliative care
Richard Gamlin
pp 187-190
Having worked in palliative care for many years, it became apparent that the word ‘dignity’ was common to the vocabularies of patients, carers and professionals. It also appeared that there was no clear understanding of what the concept meant to those facing advanced illness.
Being present at the last moments of life
Michéle Legrand and Jean-Marie Gomas
pp 191-194
Of the patients who die from terminal illnesses each year, whether from cancer or other diseases, it is obvious that many do not receive the attention they deserve. This can be due to a number of elements: A shortage of staff in institutions or home support staff. A reluctance to use analgesics or generally poor symptom control. A lack of psychological preparation by medical staff. Unsuitable family areas. Overcrowding due to shortage of beds.
Science is the modern religion and we are its ministers
Donatien Mallet
pp 196-199
Broadly speaking, the basic aims of palliative care are the same in every practice and in every country. If an observer were to determine the principles of palliative care from the literature, the main aims would be immediately obvious. Psychosociologist Jodelet summarises palliative care as ‘caring for patients and their needs rather than focusing on the disease. This approach does not look for heroic cures but concentrates on symptomatic treatment in order to achieve better quality of life. It caters for psychological and spiritual needs and attempts to integrate relatives in care, ensuring that communication is maintained between patients and those around them.’