Supportive oncology

“Supportive care, including survivorship, palliative, and end-of-life care, holistically addresses the physical, emotional, and social needs of people with cancer, irrespective of age, and is an essential component of care from the time of diagnosis throughout the person’s life.”

About 15.5 million (5%) Americans are cancer survivors, and this population is expected to grow to 26.1 million survivors by 2040. It is therefore important to focus on the care that is needed to return people to their fullest possible functioning in society after a cancer diagnosis.

Supportive care, including survivorship, palliative, and end-of-life care, holistically addresses the physical, emotional, and social needs of people with cancer, irrespective of age, and is an essential component of care from the time of diagnosis throughout the person’s life.

However, investment and progress in supportive care is incomparable with the advances in understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Inadequate supportive care can be expensive by causing increased health-care use (including emergency department visits, unplanned hospital admissions, and decreased adherence), affecting treatment outcomes, and possibly reducing survival.

Increased symptom burden reduces quality of life for patients and increases distress to caregivers. Successful supportive care focuses on managing disease and treatment-related symptoms, improving quality of life, assuring preference-concordant treatment, and improving adherence to recommended treatments, and it is associated with increased survival.

Supportive oncology