DR. ELLIE CANNON: How do I tell my doctor I want to die? (2023)

I was recently diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive form of incurable cancer. I was referred for palliative care, but I was often in so much pain that I ended up getting morphine in the ER.

I am 67 years old and retired but have run two very successful hospitality businesses. Now I have trouble opening a bottle of water.

When can I say I've had enough?

This is a very difficult and very important question - although not every doctor can decide when a patient has "enough".

End-of-life planning should be developed by the patient and those close to him. For incurable cancers, the goal of treatment is usually to prolong life. But it can come when that may not be what we want.

It's perfectly safe to say that it's all getting too much and you want to discuss other options. But that doesn't mean there's no treatment at all - far from it.

The goal of palliative care is not to treat the disease itself, but to treat any uncomfortable or distressing symptoms.

End-of-life planning should be developed by the patient and those close to him. For incurable cancers, the goal of treatment is usually to prolong life. But if maybe that's not what we want, it can come

Pain and weakness, along with limited mobility, bleeding, and difficulty with normal bodily functions, are all frightening symptoms that interfere with quality of life. Palliative care teams are trying to find ways to control or alleviate the worst of these problems.

If the symptoms are adequately addressed, life becomes more bearable and the feeling that you just want to end it can disappear somewhat. Of course, this doesn't change the end result, but it helps to make the most of the time we have left.

Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospital, but it can also involve end-of-life care.

The palliative care team can also provide emotional and practical support in death and dying.

Perhaps a conversation with Marie Curie Kankerzorg is worthwhile. Their nurses care for all people with a terminal illness and are available to provide support at home and at night. Call them on 0800 090 2309 and ask your GP or palliative care team if their services are recommended. They may also work with other people involved in your care.

I recently visited my GP to ask about the pneumonia vaccine as I am 65 years old.

They refused to give it to me saying I was not eligible as I had privately suffered from pneumonia in 2019 - before going on holiday to India. I now how to do?

We get the pneumococcal vaccine (called the pneumococcal vaccine) for infants, adults age 65 or older, and certain adults with long-term health problems, such as heart or kidney disease.

The standard guideline is that people age 65 and older only need one pneumococcal vaccine, rather than a booster dose like the flu shot.

Some people with an underlying chronic condition may need to have the pneumonia vaccine repeated every five years, your GP should tell you if you fall into this category.

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A pneumococcal vaccine called the Preventar 13 vaccine is sometimes given to younger patients in private practices. The NHS offers a different type of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or PPV, for adults over 65.

There are actually many different strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia: Preventar 13 prevents 13 strains of bacteria, while PPV prevents 23.

Adults vaccinated with Preventar 13 are not protected against all strains that PPV can prevent, so according to the standard they should still receive PPV at age 65.

Anyone over the age of 65 who has not had PPV should get vaccinated.

Seems like an administrative error to me. Talk to a nurse practitioner or family doctor to resolve the issue.

I am 29 years old and have acne and ingrown hairs on my neck after shaving. This has been going on for at least two years. I have tried many products but nothing works. Can you help me?

This actually sounds like folliculitis, an inflammation of the hair follicles. It can occur anywhere on the skin, but the beard area is especially sensitive.

Our skin is covered with bacteria that are mostly harmless and even protective. But shaving can damage the skin, allowing bacteria to grow and enter the hair follicles, causing an infection.

Folliculitis can look a lot like acne, with itchy, painful red areas and pus-filled patches.

However, unlike regular acne, it tends to spread and get worse by the day, and the area may also feel swollen and warm.

Do you have a question for Dr. ELLIE?

Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.

Dr. Ellie can only answer in general terms and cannot respond to individual cases or give individual answers.

Always consult your own doctor in case of health problems.


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