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What is supportive care?


We like all of our patients to have supportive care, regardless of whether they are having other treatments or not.  The major goal of supportive care is to prevent, or treat as early as possible, the symptoms of a disease or the side effects caused by treatment of a disease. Its not just about physical health either – it’s about a person's mental health too.  The psychological impact of a diagnosis of cancer can be devastating.  A person may also have social difficulties. Sometimes we call this ‘palliative care’, and it is often co-ordinated by specially trained nurses – including liver cancer specialist nurses or MacMillan nurses.


In people whose general fitness or liver function is not so good, we usually would not advise any anti-cancer treatment. In these circumstances it is really important not to suggest a treatment for a person that makes things worse. People don’t live longer if we make things worse and the complications or side effects of treatments can make the quality of a person's life poorer. Instead, we try to focus on making their supportive care as good as we possibly can. If we can improve the quality of a person's physical and mental health, they do feel better. These things can also help a person live longer.


If a person has symptoms – like poor appetite, weakness, pain, poor sleep or itching – our nurses and doctors can advise you on things that might help.  We really do like to keep people eating – even if its only small amounts regularly. We have some dietary information on our website.  We also like our patients who are not too weary, to try and keep active.  For physical activities, this might be going for a walk. But we have also suggested some simple things you can try at home – either sitting or standing, on our exercise page. Mental activities can help to keep people occupied too, so visit our well-being page or suggest something you might like us to organise or include. 

Further support

We will shortly be adding more information to this section of the website, until this is ready please use these links to other websites for more information and support.

Supportive care Leaflet

We like all of our patients to have supportive care, regardless of whether they are having other treatments or not.

You can download our information leaflet about supportive care here:

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