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Questions submitted by readers and answered by the CLL Society Medical Advisory Board
By Ed Ratner, MD
I am taking Venclexta for CLL. It seems to be working fine, but I was recently diagnosed with high grade bladder and/or prostate cancer. We’re checking to see if it’s metastasized. I don’t want to undergo aggressive surgery, so any advice on getting palliative or hospice care is welcome.
Answer from Dr. Ratner: My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. You may have a variety of choices for treatment, both to manage symptoms and/or to try to prolong life. An outpatient consultation with a palliative care specialist may be helpful in helping you set priorities and update your health care directives. Ask you oncologist for a referral.
If you are a veteran, consider getting input from your local VA programs, which often have even more options and benefits than other health systems.
Dr. Ratner is an internist who specializing in geriatrics and hospice/palliative care. He currently serves as Associate Director of the Geriatrics Education Research Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and as an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is also a member of the CLL Society’s Hospice and End of Life Committee.
Originally published in The CLL Tribune Q3 2019.