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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 12, 2013 at 7:09 AM

Upcoming quality-of-life care legislation

Support ongoing care for cancer survivors

Congressman Jim McDermott says he views the U.S. health care system from the perspective of the physician and his patient, rather than from that of the health industry. [Courtesy of the Office of Jim McDermott.]

Congressman Jim McDermott says he views the U.S. health care system from the perspective of the physician and his patient, rather than from that of the health industry. [Courtesy of the Office of Jim McDermott.]

With the arrival of new medical technologies, a cancer diagnosis is not the inevitable kiss of death it once was.

As a cancer survivor, I have learned there is a whole new life to be had following years of treatments and hospitalizations. One’s health can improve, however compromised.

Medical care has been evolving from treating symptoms on to managing patients’ lives beyond their illnesses. Just because someone is surviving illness, it does not mean they have attained a good quality of life. Less tangible symptoms of illness remain. Symptoms of pain, depression, new dietary restrictions, maintenance medicines and so on can severely inhibit one’s quality of life and ability to live outside of their illness.

I hope our congressman, Jim McDermott, will co-sponsor two palliative care bills (for ongoing quality-of-life care) before Congress.

There is the Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act (HR1666), which addresses the care of those with chronic illnesses. Secondly, there is the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (S641 & HR1339), which seeks to increase specialized training and education in medical programs.

Bill Wardwell, ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Seattle

 

Comments | More in Health care, Politics | Topics: cancer, cancer survivors, health care

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