Palliative Care Across the Continuum of Cancer Care

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  • 1 Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Optimal oncology care requires the integration of palliative medicine into oncology care across the disease trajectory. All patients require screening for palliative care services at the initial oncologic visit and reassessment throughout the continuum of care. As a result of the increasing attention focused on palliative care nationally and internationally, the domains of palliative cancer care have been elucidated and have fostered the development of guidelines for quality palliative care. The recent recognition of palliative medicine as a subspecialty in the United States, the growing number of hospital-based palliative care programs, and the accreditation of palliative medicine fellowship programs by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education highlight the increased visibility of palliative medicine. This provides hope for the future of oncologic care. The palliative approach is subsumed in cancer care—it provides assistance with decision-making, symptom management, and access to financial, emotional, and spiritual services. A fully integrated program of oncology and palliative care provides the greatest opportunity for care and cure.

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Correspondence: Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, Division of Hematology/Oncology, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 676 North St. Clair Street, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60611. E-Mail: j-vonroenn@northwestern.edu
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