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ESMO E-Learning: Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care: an Update

E-learning video block

This content is for ESMO members only.



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Learning objectives

  1. To provide an overview of the importance of palliative care integration into standard oncological care
  2. To provide basics in terms of scope, contents and timeframe of palliative oncological care
  3. To provide an update on the existing evidence for benefits of early palliative care in patients with cancer
  4. To provide essentials on the role of the oncologist in palliative care provision
  5. To stimulate the discussion about barriers and challenges for palliative care integration


This E-Learning module is divided into five sections in which the authors discuss about palliative care integration into standard oncological care, contents and timeframe of palliative oncological care, existing evidence for benefits of early palliative care in patients with cancer, the role of the oncologist in palliative care provision, as well as barriers and challenges for palliative care integration.

The Module is part of ESMO long term commitment to advance the integration of palliative care in oncology. The specific emphasis in this module is on findings from studies that provide evidence for the benefits of an early palliative care provision to cancer patients.

The piecemeal development of palliative care around the world has led to the adoption of several terms that are currently often used to cover overlapping timeframes and contents of palliative care. These terms include supportive care, palliative care, palliative medicine, end-of-life care and variations. In fact, some of these terms refer to some parts of the palliative care spectrum but are often used indiscriminately, which has contributed to misleading conceptions about what exactly the scope, timing, recipients and providers of palliative care are. To address these issues, the authors review the terms used by different medical organisations and then approach the contents of palliative care relevant for oncology.

The authors underline that the integration of oncology and palliative care means that high quality key principles of palliative care, including the availability of cancer-specific competencies of palliative cancer care, are provided to patients and their family members. They argue that for oncologists it is important to have competencies both in cancer specific aspects and in the key principles and interventions of palliative care.

High quality palliative cancer care mandates specific and sufficient professional training. In that regard this E-Learning module is an excellent material to address the key aspects and challenges of palliative care integration into cancer care in a comprehensive, but concise way. 

Declaration of interest

Florian Strasser has reported no conflicts of interest, no mono-sponsored industry-controlled satellite meeting, no personal financial interest.
Through his hospital (Canton Hospital St Gallen, Switzerland):
Unrestricted Industry Grants for Clinical Research (Celgene, Fresenius, Helsinn).
Participation in company-led clinical cachexia trials (Novartis).
Punctual Advisorship for Boards, Expert Meetings (Acacia, ACRAF, Amgen, Baxter, Celgene, Danone, Fresenius, GlaxoSmithKline, Grünenthal, Helsinn, ISIS Global, Millennium/Takeda, Mundipharma, Novartis, Novelpharm, Nycomed, Obexia, Otsuka, Ono, Pharm-Olam, Pfizer, Psioxus, PrIME, Santhera, Sunstone, Teva and Vifor).

Rita Canario has reported no conflicts of interest. 

Last update: 21 Dec 2016

This E-Learning module was published in 2013. The CME test expired in 2019.

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