The Integration of Early Palliative Care With Oncology Care: The Time Has Come for a New Tradition

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The past decade has brought forth innovative research that questions the traditional oncology care model for patients with advanced cancer. Through integrating palliative care (PC) early into the disease course for patients with a poor-prognosis cancer, 3 seminal studies showed improvements in outcomes, ranging from quality of life, mood, patient satisfaction, prognostic understanding, health service use, and possibly survival. The results of these paradigm-changing studies generate questions about the mechanisms through which early PC improves patient outcomes and about how best to disseminate early PC models. This article reviews the 3 studies, examines challenges to conducting PC research, and considers future directions in the field.

Correspondence: Jessica R. Bauman, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, 55 Fruit Street, POB 2, Boston, MA 02114. E-mail: jrbauman@partners.org

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