Integrating Palliative Care in Oncology: The Oncologist as a Primary Palliative Care Provider

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Abstract

The provision of comprehensive cancer care in an increasingly complex landscape necessitates that oncology providers familiarize themselves with the application of palliative care. Palliative care is a learnable skill. Recent endeavors in this arena have demonstrated that providing palliative care is part and parcel with providing compassionate and high-quality cancer care, specifically as it pertains to physical and emotional outcomes for patients and their caregivers alike. The basic tenets of providing palliative care emphasize: frequent and honest communication, routine and systematic symptom assessment, integration of spiritual assessments, and early integration of specialized hospice and palliative care resources as a patient’s circumstances evolve. This article will endeavor to review and synthesize recent developments in the palliative care literature, specifically as they pertain to the oncologist as a primary palliative care provider.

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