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Palliative Cancer Care A Decade Later: Accomplishments, The Need, Next Steps—From The American Society Of Clinical Oncology

Frank D. Ferris, Eduardo Bruera, Nathan Cherny, Charmaine Cummings, David Currow, Deborah Dudgeon, Nora JanJan, Florian Strasser, Charles F. von Gunten, Jamie H. Von Roenn

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Purpose In 1998, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) published a special article regarding palliative care and companion recommendations. Herein we summarize the major accomplishments of ASCO regarding palliative cancer and highlight current needs and make recommendations to realize the Society's vision of comprehensive cancer care by 2020. Methods ASCO convened a task force of palliative care experts to assess the state of palliative cancer care in the Society's programs. We reviewed accomplishments, assessed current needs, and developed a definition of palliative cancer. Senior ASCO members and the Board of Directors reviewed and endorsed this article for submission to Journal of Clinical Oncology. Results Palliative cancer care is the integration into cancer care of therapies that address the multiple issues that cause suffering for patients and their families and impact their life quality. Effective provision of palliative cancer care requires an interdisciplinary team that can provide care in all patient settings, including outpatient clinics, acute and long-term care facilities, and private homes. Changes in current policy, drug availability, and education are necessary for the integration of palliative care throughout the experience of cancer, for the achievement of quality improvement initiatives, and for effective palliative cancer care research. Conclusion The need for palliative cancer care is greater than ever notwithstanding the strides made over the last decade. Further efforts are needed to realize the integration of palliative care in the model and vision of comprehensive cancer care by 2020.