Introducing or transitioning patients to palliative care

A. Katalin Urban, Josephine M. Clayton, David W. Kissane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


Despite advances in anti-cancer treatments, a large proportion of adult cancer patients still eventually die from their disease. Many other chronic illnesses such as cardiac or renal failure also result in a significantly reduced life expectancy. Patients with these life-limiting illnesses can have a large symptom burden and may benefit from palliative care support. Transition from active disease modifying treatments to palliative management can be stressful for both patients and clinicians.

With cancer, the goals of care can change from curative to palliative, or they may be palliative from the moment of diagnosis in patients presenting with disseminated cancer. Palliative anti-cancer treatments aim to minimize the spread of cancer and disease progression, help control symptoms, and improve quality of life. Other palliative therapies included medications and interventions to relieve symptoms - including physical, psychosocial, and existential issues.

Transition to palliative care can be especially challenging with non-malignant diseases, where the point of change from disease control to symptom management is often difficult to define. Effective communication is essential in achieving an adaptive adjustment to disease progression and preparation for death.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Textbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
EditorsDavid W. Kissane, Barry D. Bultz, Phyllis N. Butow, Carma L. Bylund, Simon Noble, Susie Wilkinson
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-873613-4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • communication skills training; oncology; palliative care

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