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Supportive and palliative care 

Supportive and palliative care
Supportive and palliative care

David Hui

and Eduardo Bruera


May 25, 2017: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 07 July 2020

Patients with advanced cancer experience significant symptom burden as a result of disease progression, anti-neoplastic therapies and various psychosocial factors. Furthermore, they are often faced with complex decisions regarding information and communication. Palliative care is a professional specialty that specifically addresses patients’ and their families’ supportive care needs through validated assessments, evidence-based interventions, impeccable communication, and collaborative teamwork. Palliative care involvement is associated with improved symptom burden, quality of life, quality of care, satisfaction, and possibly survival and cost of care. In this chapter, we describe the structure, processes, and outcomes of palliative care, and discuss contemporary models of integration between oncology and palliative care. We will also discuss the latest insights into management of cancer pain, fatigue, and depression. Oncologists equipped with basic palliative care skills can deliver effective front-line supportive care. Patients in distress may also benefit from early referral to specialist palliative care teams.

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