Palliative Care

Cancer and treatment can cause physical symptoms and side effects. In addition to the physical impact of cancer, it is common to experience emotional, social and financial effects as well. Treating these effects is called palliative care or supportive care.

Palliative care and cancer treatment

Palliative care is an important part of cancer care, along with treatment to slow, stop or cure the cancer. A palliative care physician helps with pain and symptom management related to cancer and cancer treatment, as well as addressing the patient’s spiritual, emotional and psychosocial needs. Your palliative care physician can also help with accessing extra support and resources for you at home and in the community.

Although many people associate palliative care with the end of life, in fact a patient can start palliative care soon after a cancer diagnosis and receive it through treatment and recovery. Research shows that early involvement by a palliative care doctor can improve a patient’s quality of life and help him or her feel more satisfied with the treatment received. Palliative care also helps cancer survivors who have ongoing, or new, symptoms or side effects after treatment is completed.

In addition to the support listed above, palliative care also addresses the needs of people who are approaching or are at the end of life. Palliative care can help the patient and his or her family with plans and arrangements for ease of transition to end-of-life care.

Dr. Harleen Toor

Dr. Toor is the Associate Lead for the Outpatient Palliative Care Team at Mount Sinai. She holds clinic days from Monday to Thursday. She completed medical school at McMaster University and family medicine and palliative care fellowship training at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Victor Cellarius

Dr. Victor Cellarius joined the palliative care clinic in 2019 and currently holds clinic days on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. He completed medical school and residency training at the University of Calgary.

Before you meet your doctor

  • You will be asked to complete the Your Symptoms Matter screening tool at each visit with your palliative care doctor.
  • At the appointment the doctor will discuss how to manage your symptoms.
  • Your first meeting with your palliative care doctor will last one hour. This allows your doctor to learn about you, your illness experience, and discuss your plan for care. Follow-up visits are booked for 30 minutes, or longer if needed.

What to bring

  • Please your OHIP card and a list of all your current medications and any other supplements or recreational drugs that you are taking.
  • Please feel free to bring someone with you, especially those who are a part of your main support network.

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