A patient viewpoint – integrate oncology and palliative care


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Roger Wilson1,2
1NCRI Consumer Liaison Group, London, UK,2Sarcoma UK, London, UK

Abstract

Most cancer research using patients is not centred on patients. Research relies on methodologies to assess an intervention. These do not handle qualitative data very well, are flawed in rare diseases, use endpoints which patients do not relate to, and result in un-nuanced simplistic conclusions. Current debates about limiting costly treatments by age are a good illustration of such simplicity in practice. It can also be argued that cancer patients are challenged by the system as much as they are by disease and its treatment. There is a need for medical care which is truly personalised, taking account of the whole needs of the patient. The integration of palliative and oncology care would be a positive move. A focus from the moment of diagnosis on the real needs of the whole patient, rather than the disease which the patient hosts, would benefit all patients. This kind of integrated care is relevant to survivorship as much as it is to end of life. A secondary issue is that this approach would challenge research. Qualitative and probabilistic methodologies more sensitive to the real needs of patients would be needed.