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Connecting Palliative Care with Cancer Care

Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Co-Leader of the Lurie Cancer Center's Cancer Control and Survivorship Program, is a renowned advocate for thoughtfully integrating palliative medicine into the care of cancer patients from the time of their cancer diagnosis.

Von Roenn's article, Palliative Care Always, in the January issue of the journal ONCOLOGY, presents evidence demonstrating that palliative care provided concurrently with oncologic care improves outcomes including, symptom control, physician satisfaction, cost-efficiency of treatment, and quality of life for patients and families.

Gaps in education and research, and a cultural stigma that equates palliative care with end-of life care, are barriers that need to be addressed, Von Roenn says, in order to achieve seamless palliative care integration across the continuum of cancer care. Von Roenn, recipient of the 2011 ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture for her pioneering work in palliative medicine, is also a leading proponent of developing palliative care training for oncologists.

"Palliative care is given throughout a patient's experience with cancer. It should begin at diagnosis and continue through treatment, follow-up care, and the end of life."

-The National Cancer Institute (NCI) fact sheet on palliative care

(Last updated on April 12, 2013 )