Definition of palliative care

Mollie A. Biewald, R. Sean Morrison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on quality of life for patients living with serious illness. Focuses of care include symptom management, expert communication to tailor care to goals and values, and added support for patients and their caregivers. Palliative care is available to patients of any age and at any stage of illness and can be provided alongside disease-directed treatments that may be curative in intent. A growing body of evidence shows improvements in quality of life, higher value medical care, and better outcomes for patients and families with palliative care. The American Society for Clinical Oncology recommends a palliative care referral be provided for patients soon after a cancer diagnosis. Although many patients benefit from involvement of a specialty trained interdisciplinary team, many aspects of palliative care can and should be provided by medical and radiation oncology teams. This chapter reviews domains of palliative care, the differences between palliative care and hospice, and how palliative care differs from and augments traditional oncologic care.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalliative Radiation Oncology
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780323876889
ISBN (Print)9780323876896
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • communication
  • palliative care
  • radiation oncology
  • symptom management


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