Palliative Care

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
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Over the past 20 years, increasing attention has been paid to quality-of-life issues in oncology. As the hospice movement has grown in this country, palliative care has developed into an integral part (rather than the antithesis) of comprehensive cancer care. Palliative care must be integrated earlier into the continuum of cancer care, and palliative, symptom-modifying therapy should be provided simultaneously with disease-modifying therapy from diagnosis. The goal of the NCCN palliative care guidelines is to help assure that each patient with cancer experiences the best possible quality of life throughout the illness trajectory. These guidelines are intended to help oncology teams provide the best care possible for their patients with incurable cancer.

For the most recent version of the guidelines, please visit

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center was established in 1986 and soon after designated a “comprehensive” center by the National Cancer Institute. Michigan's team approach to caring for cancer patients is driven by two truths: that cancer is a complex disease and that each patient is truly unique.

Under the direction of Max S. Wicha, MD (second photo on the cover), a nationally known researcher in breast oncology and an active clinician, the center's 335 physicians and researchers work together in multidisciplinary teams to rapidly bring new prevention, detection, and treatment discoveries to its cancer clinics. Groundbreaking research efforts are under way there, including research into cancer stem cells, nanotechnology, and targeted molecular therapies. Discoveries in the laboratory are quickly translated into new ideas for prevention and treatment, making translational research the cornerstone of all cancer care there.

In addition, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center looks at healing the whole person, not just the disease, offering patient and family support services—including grief and loss counseling, fertility counseling, and art therapy—to ease the stress and solitude of serious illness.

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