Palliative Care Research

“To achieve the vision of comprehensive cancer care by 2020 consistent with the WHO Strategy for integrating palliative care into cancer, ASCO recommends changes in policy, drug availability, education, the integration of palliative care throughout the experience of cancer, quality improvement initiatives, and research. ASCO is committed to informing its membership about the significant barriers to optimal palliative care and to advocating legislative and regulatory changes that will eliminate these barriers.”

              Palliative Cancer Care a Decade Later: Accomplishments, the Need, Next Steps – From the American Society of Clinical Oncology


  • Institutions should develop processes for integrating palliative care into cancer care, both as part of usual oncology care and for patients with specialty palliative care needs.

  • All cancer patients should be screened for palliative care needs at their initial visit, at appropriate intervals, and as clinically indicated.

  • Patients/families/caregivers should be informed that palliative care is an integral part of their comprehensive cancer care.

  • Educational programs should be provided to all health care professionals and trainees so that they can develop effective palliative care knowledge, skills and attitudes.

  • Palliative care specialist and interdisciplinary palliative care teams should be readily available to provide consultative or direct care to patients/families/caregivers who request or require their expertise.


  • Patients with life-limiting cancer diagnosis

  • Limited anticancer treatment options

  • Need for clarification of goals of care

  • High risk of poor pain management or pain that remains resistant to conventional interventions

  • High non-pain symptom burden, especially those resistant to conventional management

  • High distress score

  • Need for invasive procedures

  • Frequent ED visits or hospital admissions

  • Need for ICU-level care

  • Communication barriers

  • Request for hastened death

National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines Version 1.2018 Palliative Care (PAL-1 and PAL-7)

Committee Members

Katherine Faricy-Anderson, MD, MPH, Chair

Karyn Berlin, Social worker

Sandra Blakowski, MD

Brian Cassel

Victor Chang

Anita Connor

Rusty Crawford, B Pharm, BCOP

Elizabeth Henry MD

Steve Lee MD

Ritu Lapsiwala, MD

Jessica McDermott,MD

Drew Moghanaki, MD, MPH

Grace Cullen, NP
Marshall Tague

Palliative Care Resources

Notable Works on the Positive Impact of Palliative Care Among Patients with Cancer

  1. “Early Palliative Care for Patients With Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer” Temel J.S., Greer J.A., Muzikansky A., et al. N Engl J Med 2010; 363:733-742.

  2. “Effect of early and systematic integration of palliative care in patients with advanced cancer: a randomized controlled trial" Vanbutsele, G., Pardon K., Van belle, S., et al. Lancet Onc 2018; 19(3):394-404.

  3. “Role of Patient Coping Strategies In Understanding the Effects of Early Palliative Care on Quality of Life and Mood” Greer J.A., Jacobs J.M., El-Jawahri A., et al. Jour Clin Onc 2018; 36(1):53-60.

  4. “Effects of Early Integrated Palliative Care on Caregivers of Patients with Lung and Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” El-Jawahri A., Greer J.A., Pirl W.F., et al. Oncologist 2017; 22(12):1528-1534.

  5. Gutt R, Malhotra S, Jolly S et al.  “On behalf of the Veterans Health Administration Palliative Radiotherapy Task Force”.  Annals of Palliative Medicine.  April 2018;7(2):234-241.

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