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The Lung Cancer Patient, The Pneumologist And Palliative Care: A Developing Alliance

Torsten Blum, Nicolas Schönfeld

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Considerable evidence is now available on the value of palliative care for lung cancer patients in all stages and at all times during the course of the disease. However, pneumologists and their institutions seem to be widely in arrears with the implementation of palliative care concepts and the development of integrated structures.This review focuses on the available evidence and experience of various frequently unmet needs of lung cancer patients, especially psychological, social, spiritual and cultural ones. A PubMed search for evidence on these aspects of palliative care as well as on barriers to the implementation, on outcome parameters and effectiveness, and on structure and process quality was performed with a special focus on lung cancer patients.As a consequence, this review particularly draws pneumologists’ attention to improving their skills in communication with the patients, their relatives and among themselves, and to establish team structures with more far-reaching competences and continuity than existing multilateral cooperations and conferences can provide. Ideally, any process of structural and procedural improvement should be accompanied by scientific evaluation and measures for quality optimisation.