Commentary (Von Roenn): Improving Palliative and Supportive Care in Cancer Patients
September 01, 2005
Despite major advances in cancerbiology and therapeutics,cancer and its treatment continueto cause devastating suffering,not only for the more than half a millionpatients who will die this yearfrom cancer, but also for many ofthose who will be successfully treated. Symptom burden has a profoundimpact on the quality of life ofcancer patients across all stages of disease.Routine screening of ambulatorycancer patients identifies an average of7 to 10 distressing physical and psychologicalsymptoms per patient.Even patients with a good performancestatus have a median of nine or moresymptoms.[3,4] Not surprisingly, theseverity and burden of symptoms nearthe end of life is even greater.