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Palliative care integration in haematological malignancies: towards a needs-based approach
  1. Jacob J Strand1 and
  2. Thomas W LeBlanc2
  1. 1 Divison of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Center for Palliative Medicine Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jacob J Strand, Divison of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine and Center for Palliative Medicine Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; strand.jacob{at}mayo.edu

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The integration of palliative care in oncology has advanced rapidly in just a few short years. It is only within the past decade that the landscape of early integrated palliative care even reached a point where multiple clinical trials exist, showing significant improvements in outcomes including quality of life, symptoms and even caregiver well-being. Ensuing policy statements now call for the inclusion of palliative care as a standard component of high-quality, comprehensive cancer care.1 2 However, palliative care use among patients with haematological malignancies remains far less frequent, and is generally underdeveloped as a practice at most centres.

This is certainly not due to a lack of need. Patients with haematological malignancies experience high symptom burden, frequent psychological comorbidities and poor end-of-life quality outcomes.3–5 Indeed, many of us have called attention to these significant issues to date, and advocating for early prognosis-independent integration of palliative care into haematology.6 7

Within this landscape, one might question the need for another study on the palliative care needs of those with haematological malignancies, or the associated poor end-of-life care outcomes. However, the study by Beaussant et al in this month’s issue illustrates a greater level of sophistications that is needed in the literature in this area.8 Haematological malignancies is a catchall term used to describe a remarkably heterogeneous group of diseases, characterised by striking differences in treatment intensities and outcomes. They range from acute to chronic conditions, and portend a variety of responses to disease-directed treatments, sometimes even including the possibility of cure, which is quite unlike most advanced solid tumours. This results in …

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Footnotes

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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