KANSAS CITY, Mo. - From medicine to appointments to blood tests, once someone is diagnosed with cancer their focus becomes getting better.
Lavonne Hanline knows the routine: her first cancer diagnosis was 13 years ago. It started in her breast. Now it's in her bones.
But this time around she has a new ally.
"They wear many hats, but when I need somebody and I can sit down and talk with them they become a friend," says Hanline.
She's talking about the palliative care doctors at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
They go beyond blood counts and blood pressure. They want to know how a patient and their families are coping.
"We want to be part of their life. So we know how does the medical system do what's right for you as a person and you and your family together to make sure your goals and what the medical system do are really matching up," says Dr. Emily Riegel.
A recently published study found patients receiving palliative care lived longer and had a better quality of life.
Lavonne believes it's made a difference for her.
"I feel overall it's opened me up to the possibilities. There's opportunities. There's options and of course the end of life they will be there too, but like I told you before, I'm not ready to check out and I've got some living to do," says Hanline.
And that's the goal: doctors and patients working together during a very difficult time.
The University of Kansas Cancer Center offers palliative care both on an in-patient and out-patient basis.
Thursday, a team of doctors and specialists from the University of Kansas Cancer Center will be here to take your calls about cancer, treatment and symptoms. They'll be on the phone and online from 4:30 to 6:30.