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ASCO Updates Guidelines on Integration of Palliative Care

Those with advanced cancer should receive dedicated palliative care services early in disease course

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline on the integration of palliative care into standard oncology care has been updated. The update was published online Oct. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Betty R. Ferrell, Ph.D., from City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, Calif., and colleagues updated the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology provisional clinical opinion on the integration of palliative care into standard oncology care. An expert panel was convened to develop an update; members of the panel conducted an updated systematic review of randomized clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, as well as secondary analyses of randomized controlled trials in the 2012 provisional clinical opinion.

The authors note that early in the course of disease, inpatients and outpatients with advanced cancer should receive palliative care services concurrent with active treatment. Ideally, patients should be referred to interdisciplinary palliative care teams, and services may complement existing programs. Family and friend caregivers of patients with early or advanced cancer may be referred to palliative care services.

"To enhance and strengthen the evidence base on palliative care, the dissemination of research results, and the quality and equity of palliative care, more research is needed," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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