In the essay “Letting Go: What Should Medicine Do When It Can’t Save You?,”1 Atul Gawande demonstrates the need for all physicians to confront the difficult conversations with patients from a place of honesty and humility. While dermatology and palliative care are rarely mentioned together, dermatologists grapple with questions of palliation daily as we encounter illnesses that we can help, but not cure. How do we help elderly patients with countless skin cancers? Or younger patients with newly metastatic melanoma? How do we consider pain management for patients with hidradenitis suppurativa? How can we help patients with intractable alopecia cope? Gawande’s essay called for a shift in mindset to include a palliative approach to medical care, and although it may not seem self-evident, dermatology is a prime specialty to answer the call. In this Viewpoint, we consider several opportunities for the integration of palliative care and dermatology.
Yang CS, Quan VL, Charrow A. The Power of a Palliative Perspective in Dermatology. JAMA Dermatol. 2022;158(6):609–610. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2022.1298
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