Once cancer is diagnosed, prompt and thorough medical treatment and complementary care are essential to prolonging a patient’s life, decreasing side effects and improving quality of life. Effective treatment must also consider the health and individual needs of the patient.
Access to individualized, high-quality comprehensive care is a fundamental step in assuring optimal outcomes for all Vermonters diagnosed with cancer.
Optimal cancer treatment requires accurate information about the diagnosis and spread of the cancer, treatment planning, adherence to nationally accepted treatment standards and participation in clinical trial research if available and appropriate.
Although excellent cancer treatment may be available at all hospitals, Commission on Cancer accredited cancer programs ensure that treatment is state-of-the-art and meets national standards. There are six Commission on Cancer accredited medical facilities in Vermont.
Palliative care provides quality compassionate care to help relieve cancer symptoms, pain, and stress through expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support. It is an essential component of cancer care and should be available through all stages before, during and after treatment. Palliative care services are available at all Commission on Cancer accredited hospitals in Vermont, either on site or by referral.
Complementary and integrative medicine is a total approach to medical care that combines the use of standard medicine with non-traditional (complementary) practices. The goal of this care is to provide care that is patient-centered and healing-oriented to improve a patient’s physical and emotional well-being. Examples of complementary therapies include acupuncture and massage.
Using complementary practices can optimize health, quality of life and clinical outcomes for cancer patients. However, there may be risks in using complementary care and providers should assist cancer patients in making informed decisions. Many Vermont hospitals are offering complementary approaches to cancer care and insurance coverage is expanding.
A comprehensive collection of health data is used to monitor cancer in Vermont. The Vermont Cancer Registry, a statewide cancer surveillance system, collects information on all cases of cancer diagnosed and treated in Vermont. Other sources of data, such as population health surveys and vital records are utilized to provide high-quality cancer reporting. This helps us effectively work to reduce the burden of cancer.