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The changing paradigm for supportive care in cancer patients

Alexandre Chan & Jude Lees & Dorothy Keefe

Support Care Cancer (2014) 22:1441–1445


With scientific advances in cancer supportive care and the incorporation of effective supportive care strategies into contemporary cancer treatment, there has been a substantial reduction in the occurrence of severe toxicities traditionally associated with cytotoxic chemotherapy over the past two decades. For example, appropriate prophylaxis with anti-emetics (including a 5-HT3 antagonist, corticosteroid, and NK-1 antagonist) has greatly reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, colony-stimulating factors have curbed febrile neutropenia, and the integrated use of mouth care and palifermin has decreased the severity of oral mucositis. In addition, the introduction of structured management and care pathways into clinical practice has widely promoted these supportive care strategies for patients. We may not currently have all the answers on the prevention of chemotherapy-induced toxicities, but most oncology clinicians today can capably handle toxicities which were previously considered difficult to manage.

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