The early integration of palliative care into oncology care: A rapid review

Asma Fadhlaoui, Hazar Mrad, Billy Vinette, Karine Bilodeau


With the number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths on the rise, palliative care is becoming a more important consideration for helping to improve the quality of life of patients and families and the support they receive during their healthcare journey. Accordingly, the early integration of palliative care into standard oncology care would appear to be an underutilized and novel approach that could be used to address the specific needs of palliative oncology patients. Oncology nurses play a central role in this process, delivering care throughout the health continuum, including palliative care. The purpose of this rapid review is to outline the benefits of early palliative care interventions and describe their characteristics. A literature search on CINAHL and PubMed returned five randomized trials conducted between 2010 and 2018. An analysis of these papers showed that the majority of the selected studies concluded that the early integration of palliative care into standard oncology care, which includes such treatments as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can lead to improvements in quality of life, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and overall survival rate. 

Keywords: palliative care, early palliative care, intervention, cancer, oncology 

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