What is palliative treatment?

You may think palliative treatment means end-of-life care, but they’re not the same. Palliative treatment helps people to live more comfortably and often for longer.

Palliative treatment is used to reduce your symptoms of cancer and improve your quality of life. Our highly trained specialists provide palliative treatment to slow the growth or reduce the size of the tumour, helping to get your symptoms under control.

Many of our palliative patients can live relatively well, with little to no symptoms, for long periods of time, and maybe even for years.

We use the latest treatment techniques and advanced technologies as part of our palliative care. We also offer supportive therapies as part of our integrative cancer care at no extra cost to patients. These include:

  • Exercise medicine – a personalised 12-week exercise programme to improve your tolerance to treatment and physical and mental wellbeing  
  • Penny Brohn UK wellbeing – a bespoke programme to support your emotional wellbeing, including specialist therapies such as counselling, reflexology, acupuncture, relaxation, and mindfulness training 
  • Transport to and from your GenesisCare treatment centre

Our palliative treatment service is available to anyone who has cancer and for all cancer types. If you’re looking to discuss your choice of treatment or for a second opinion, we can arrange a consultation with one of our expert consultants.

Book an appointment

Being referred to GenesisCare is quick and easy. Our friendly team are always happy to help and can answer any questions you might have.

0808 304 2332
0808 304 2332


We use the latest technology to accurately target cancer, depending on your needs, appointments are available within 24 to 72 hours of referral.


Anti-cancer drugs are used to slow the progression of cancer, you’ll be supported by our palliative trained nurses, with access to drugs which aren’t widely available outside independent healthcare. 


Advanced metastatic prostate cancer can be treated with a specialist therapy, which uses intelligent ‘seek and destroy’ mechanisms to directly damage cancer cells.

What is palliative radiotherapy?

We offer fast access to palliative radiotherapy through our Rapid Access Palliative Radiotherapy Pathways. Depending on your needs, you can be seen and treated within 24 to 72 hours of referral at one of our rapid access clinics. You can speak to your consultant for a referral to palliative radiotherapy

MRIdian MR linac – precision radiotherapy

The precision of the MRIdian MR linac allows highly targeted radiotherapy to be delivered to tumours that can be difficult to target with other types of radiotherapy machines. This world-class technology enables clinicians to ‘see as they treat’ with the exact position of the tumour visible during treatment. Even if you move slightly, treatment is automatically paused. This reduces unnecessary damage to healthy tissue and reduces side effects. 

MRIdian MR linac radiotherapy is available as an alternative to palliative chemotherapy. If you’re interested in MRIdian radiotherapy, your consultant will be happy to discuss this with you. MRIdian radiotherapy is not currently available through our Rapid Access Palliative Radiotherapy Pathway.

The team at GenesisCare have been great and they made me feel my welfare was their only concern. This treatment has given me hope and I would recommend it to anyone else considering it

Alan, GenesisCare patient

What is palliative chemotherapy?

Palliative chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to shrink or control your cancer and help ease symptoms. It’s given in the same way as any other chemotherapy and delivered in our comfortable, private suites, enabling you to relax while you’re having your treatment.

We can also provide access to anti-cancer drugs that aren’t widely available outside independent healthcare.

Your consultant will design a treatment plan around you and your needs. Sometimes they may need to adjust the plan to achieve your goals, and may discuss treatment options with you, including palliative radiotherapy as an alternative to chemotherapy.

Find out more about chemotherapy.

How long can you have palliative chemotherapy?

You can continue to have palliative chemotherapy for as long as you feel comfortable. If you feel you might benefit from a different type of treatment, your consultant can talk you through your options, such as switching to a different chemotherapy drug or dose or moving to palliative radiotherapy. 


Palliative treatment for prostate cancer

Theranostics is a therapy for metastatic prostate cancer – cancer that’s spread throughout the body. It’s especially effective for prostate cancer that hasn’t responded well to conventional therapies, such as hormone therapy.

There are two key steps for Theranostics – seek, to find cancer metastases and confirm if this is the right treatment for you – and the treatment phase, which aims to destroy the cancer cells.

We have two types of Theranostics for metastatic prostate cancer:

  • 177Lutetium PSMA therapy – an intelligent therapy that seeks cancer cells and destroys them, avoiding healthy tissue damage
  • Radium-223 therapy – a targeted therapy used in prostate cancer that’s spread to your bones and is causing pain

GenesisCare were the first UK healthcare provider to offer 177Lutetium PSMA therapy.



Side effects of palliative treatment

What are the side effects of palliative treatment?

As with any treatment, the side effects you’re likely to get depend on your type of cancer, where the treatment area is and the type of treatment you’re having.

Common side effects can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Skin changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Soreness in the treated area
  • Diarrhoea

Your consultant will let you know what side effects you’re likely to experience and answer any questions you may have.

Integrative cancer care

At GenesisCare, we’re committed to treating you, not just your cancer. That’s why we offer palliative support as part of our integrative cancer care programme that focuses on your mental wellbeing as much as your physical health, these include: 

Exercise medicine

Research has shown that exercise can improve your tolerance of treatments and your mental and physical wellbeing. We’ve tailored an exercise programme that’s an integral part of your palliative treatment.

Our specially trained physiotherapists and personal trainers are qualified experts in exercise medicine for cancer patients and deliver training using the latest Technogym equipment within our centres.

Find out more about exercise medicine.

Penny Brohn UK wellbeing

Cancer can be an overwhelming experience and we understand the importance of your wellbeing. We’ve partnered with Penny Brohn UK to provide unique wellbeing therapies and offer appointments with specially trained Penny Brohn Wellbeing Consultants who’ll talk to you about your wellbeing and mental health.

Find out more about Penny Brohn UK Wellbeing.

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Cancer Support UK

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Marie Curie

Patient Stories

Hearing directly from our patients shows you that you’re not alone and GenesisCare will support you at every step of your journey.

The treatment has affected my outlook on life in a very positive way

Steve, GenesisCare patient