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Medical News and Perspectives
March 28, 2012

Cancer Experts Recommend Introducing Palliative Care at Time of Diagnosis

JAMA. 2012;307(12):1241-1242. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.336

Discussions of cancer quite often involve military terms. Individuals fight or battle cancer while researchers wage the war on cancer. But this aggressive tone misses the unfortunate reality that for many with cancer, death is in their near future.

A movement to recognize more realistic scenarios that follow a cancer diagnosis is encouraging the use of palliative care much earlier in the treatment course. This shift is noticeable in the provisional clinical opinion released February 6 by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recommending that all patients with metastatic non–small cell lung cancer be offered palliative care along with standard cancer therapy beginning at the time of diagnosis (http://tinyurl.com/7lxjsqn).

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