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Supportive, Palliative, And End-of-life Care For Patients With Cancer In Asia: Resource-stratified Guidelines From The Asian Oncology Summit 2012.

S. Payne, N. Chan, Andrew Davies, E. Poon, S. Connor, C. Goh
Published 2012 · Medicine

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The burden of cancer in Asia is high; 6·1 million new cases were diagnosed in the continent in 2008, which accounted for 48% of new cases worldwide. Deaths from cancer are expected to continue to rise because of ageing populations and modifiable risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, diet, and obesity. Most patients who are diagnosed with cancer in Asia have advanced disease that is not amenable to curative treatment, which means that they are likely to have pain and other symptoms and psychosocial concerns. These burdens vary with the economic and political situation of the different countries and are affected by such factors as an absence of screening programmes, insufficient cancer diagnostic and treatment services (especially in sparsely populated and rural areas), legal restrictions on access to drugs to relieve pain, and a medical culture in which quality-of-life considerations are undervalued in relation to imperatives to treat. These issues could be ameliorated by increased investment in cancer screening, removal of restrictions on prescription of opioids, and improvements in medical education to increase recognition of treatment futility. Supportive, palliative, and end-of-life care offer the potential to enhance quality of life, improve pain control, and reduce suffering for patients with cancer and their families, and to give patients a dignified death. All patients should have access to such care-in resource-rich regions these services should be integrated into oncology services, whereas in resource-poor regions they should be the main focus of treatment. The form of care should depend on the economic circumstances within and across countries, and recommendations are made across four resource classifications (basic to maximal) to take account of the diversity of settings in Asia.
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