Supportive Care in Cancer Unit at the National Cancer Institute of Milan: a new integrated model of medicine in oncology

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To present the model of the Supportive Care in Cancer Unit (SCCU) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of Milan.

Recent findings

In the last few years, there has been a debate on different models of integration of palliative care in oncology, on early palliative care, supportive care, supportive and palliative care, continuous care, end-of life care and pain management in the trajectory of cancer.

Summary

The aims of the SCCU of the NCI of Milan are mainly four: to collaborate with the individual specialists of NCI through integrated and ancillary activities while implementing a supportive therapy to treat the side effects, toxicities of oncological therapies, and comorbidities in the patients from the time of diagnosis and throughout the oncology treatment period; to assess all patients’ needs through Italian validated versions of assessment tools, in order to ensure early care of the patient in a holistic approach; to support family members, survivors and healthcare professionals; and to promote research (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) and educational programs.

Summary

Our integrated model of medicine in oncology, which we define ‘supportive care’, is part of the clinical history of the patients, from the time of diagnosis and during oncological treatments, to facilitate their psychological well being and improve adherence to treatment protocols.

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