Survivors, families asked Kentucky legislature to improve quality of life for patients with cancer and other serious illnesses and to establish a quality of life advisory committee

Approximately 75 survivors, families and loved ones gathered in the Kentucky State Capitol rotunda Feb. 9 to urge legislators to take steps to improve quality of life for patients with cancer and other serious illness during the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s annual Day at the Capitol.

A variety of speakers discussed the importance of palliative care, a growing field of specialized medical care that improves the quality of life of patients and their families by focusing on relief from pain, stress and other often debilitating symptoms of treatment for a serious disease such as cancer. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage of illness.

“Every year, hundreds of patients with cancer and other serious illnesses face an uncertain and scary road ahead,” said James Sharp, vice president, government relations at American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Palliative care works to improve the lives of these patients and their families by making management of pain and other symptoms standard protocol during treatment.”

Throughout the day, volunteers met with elected officials to ask them to create an advisory council of health care providers trained in palliative care and to establish a statewide education program to draw public awareness to the benefits of and need for palliative care.

“When we have an opportunity to improve the lives of those going through something as difficult as a cancer diagnoses, we have to take it,” said Sharp. “That’s why we’re urging our legislators to make this issue a priority in Kentucky.”

Research shows that early palliative care provided alongside cancer treatment results in patients living longer and that patients benefitting from hospital-based palliative care spent less time in intensive care units and are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital after being discharged.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority.

ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard.

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