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Oncologist. 2012;17(2):267-73. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0219. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Palliative care in advanced cancer patients: how and when?

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Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Cancer patients develop severe physical and psychological symptoms as a result of their disease and treatment. Their families commonly suffer great emotional distress as a result of caregiving. Early palliative care access can improve symptom control and quality of life and reduce the cost of care. Preliminary results show that early palliative care access can also extend survival. Unfortunately, only a minority of cancer centers in the U.S. have the two most important resources for palliative care delivery: outpatient palliative care centers and inpatient palliative care units. In this article, we use a case presentation to discuss the impact of early palliative care access in light of the currently available evidence, and we recommend ways to improve early access to palliative care through education and research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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