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This review aims to describe available standards for delivery of palliative and supportive care for cancer patients and discuss to what extent these guidelines have been evaluated and disseminated into standard care. Ovid searches were conducted to identify relevant guidelines, randomized studies comparing guideline-based care to usual care, and articles describing the use of guidelines in the usual care setting. Published guidelines address specific issues related to symptom management. Broader consensus statements have presented a framework for the delivery of palliative care for cancer patients. Dissemination of guidelines into standard care has been limited. Limited data suggest that implementation of palliative and supportive care guidelines can improve patient outcomes. Clinical trial publications rarely address supportive care in detail. Guideline efficacy has not been evaluated, and their dissemination into standard care has been poor. A conceptual framework for better implementation of existing guidelines might improve usage and outcomes.