In 2012, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) wrote a provisional clinical opinion on the integration of palliative care into standard cancer care.1 A recent publication delineated this statement’s transition into a practice guideline.2 Key elements include the following:
Patients with advanced cancer are defined as those with distant metastases, late-stage disease, cancer that is life-limiting, and/or have a diagnosis of 6 to 24 months;
Patients with advanced cancer (regardless of setting of care) should receive dedicated palliative care services early in the disease course and concurrent with active treatment;
Palliative care should be delivered via interdisciplinary palliative care teams;
For newly diagnosed patients with advanced cancer, palliative care consultations should commence within 8 weeks of diagnosis.
How does your standard of care compare with this guideline? What needs to be done in your setting to actualize this best practice?
Share this information with your work colleagues and get started creating a plan to render this much needed palliative care intervention for your patients. This is not an “if” or a “maybe” clinical possibility. It is a “when” and “how” necessity. The standard has been set upon which the quality of the cancer care we render will be judged.
Smith TJ, Temin S, Alesi ER, et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology provisional clinical opinion: The integration of palliative care into standard oncology care. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Mar 10;30(8):880-7.
Ferrell BR, Temel JS, Temin S, et al. Integration of Palliative Care Into Standard Oncology Care: American Society of Clinical Practice Guideline Update. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Jan;35(1):96-112.
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