Palliative care should be standard in cancer treatment: guideline

(Reuters Health) – For patients with advanced cancer, hospital palliative care should start early and be an integral part of treatment, not just something added on near the end of life, according to a new practice guideline from the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Expanding on a 2012 opinion, the guideline authors say that caregivers of advanced-cancer patients and early-stage cancer patients should also be considered for palliative – sometimes known as “comfort” – care.

Palliative care teams help build rapport and relationships with patients and family caregivers, manage symptoms like fatigue, mood changes and nausea, clarify treatment goals, assist with medical decision making and generally help patients cope with having cancer.

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