Early integration of palliative care in oncology practice: Results of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) survey

V. Zagonel, R. Torta, Vittorio Franciosi, A. Brunello, G. Biasco, D. Cattaneo, L. Cavanna, D. Corsi, G. Farina, Luisa Fioretto, T. Gamucci, G. Lanzetta, Roberto Magarotto, M. Maltoni, C. Mastromauro, Barbara Melotti, F. Meriggi, I. Pavese, E. Piva, C. SaccoG. Tonini, L. Trentin, Paola Ermacora, Antonella Varetto, F. Merlin, S. Gori, Stefano Cascinu, C. Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early integration of palliative care in oncology practice ("simultaneous care", SC) has been shown to provide better care resulting in improved quality-of-life and also survival. We evaluated the opinions of Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) members. Patients and methods: A 37-item questionnaire was delivered to 1119 AIOM members. Main areas covered were: social, ethical, relational aspects of disease and communication, training, research, organizational and management models in SC. Three open questions explored the definition of Quality of Life, Medical Oncologist and Palliative Care. Results: Four hundred and forty-nine (40.1%) medical oncologists returned the questionnaires. Forty-nine percent stated they address non-curability when giving a diagnosis of metastatic tumor, and 43% give the information only to patients who clearly ask for it. Fifty-five percent say the main formative activity in palliative medicine came from attending meetings and 90% agree that specific palliative care training should be part of the core curriculum in oncology. Twenty-two percent stated they consulted guidelines for symptom management, 45% relied upon personal experience and 26% make a referral to a palliative care specialist. Seventy-four percent were in favor of more research in palliative medicine. An integration between Units of Oncology and Palliative Care Services early in the course of advanced disease was advocated by 86%. Diverse and multifaceted definitions were given for the concepts of Quality of Life, Palliative Care and Medical Oncologist. Conclusion: SC is felt as an important task, as well as training of medical oncologists in symptom management and research in this field. © Ivyspring International Publisher.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1968-1978
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Advanced cancer
  • Early palliative care
  • Medical oncology
  • Research
  • Simultaneous care


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