Link To “ASCO Updates Expert Guidance on Integrating Palliative Care into Standard Oncology Care”

With the tremendous advances in cancer therapy, it no longer makes sense to force patients with advanced cancer to choose between palliative care and aggressive cancer treatment.

The following is an extract from Resource (1). The complete guidelines are available in Resource (2).

The foundation of the guideline update is that palliative care should apply from the time of diagnosis, and through treatment, recurrence, and long-term survivorship or the end of life. In the service of this goal, the Expert Panel made the following conclusions and recommendations:

  • There is expert consensus, based on our thorough literature review, for offering palliative care concurrently with antitumor therapy.
  •  For newly diagnosed patients with advanced cancer, early palliative care should begin within 8 weeks of diagnosis.
  • Palliative care should be interdisciplinary.
  • Palliative care has much to offer to manage quality-of-life concerns in cancer survivors.
  • Family caregivers are the key providers of patient care and need education, support, and skills preparedness; providers may refer caregivers of patients with early or advanced cancer to palliative care services.
  • Patients participating in clinical trials can benefit from palliative care.
  • There is growing evidence of the cost benefits of palliative care, in addition to better quality of care and equal or longer survival.

The Expert Panel affirmed the definition of palliative care as “care which optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering.”


(1) ASCO Updates Expert Guidance on Integrating Palliative Care into Standard Oncology Care Guest Commentary. Nov 03, 2016

(2) Integration of Palliative Care Into Standard Oncology Care: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Update [PubMed Abstract] [Full Text HTML] [Full Text PDF]. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Jan;35(1):96-112. Epub 2016 Oct 28.


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