“In a unique partnering of oncologists, patients and patient advocacy groups, ESMO has produced this guide to help patients and their family members on one side, as well as their oncologists on the other,” explained Dr Nathan Cherny, Chair of the ESMO Palliative Care Working Group.
The booklet provides advice to discuss issues related to treatment decisions and advanced care planning, introduces important concepts in palliative and supportive care and highlights the crucial role of the oncologist.
“For patients and their relatives, the booklet provides practical recommendations and suggestions; for instance how to communicate with the oncologist, important questions to ask, how to get information,” continued Dr Cherny. “For practising oncologists, the guide will serve as a tool to help them structure important discussions with their patients and assist them in addressing the many issues they are confronting.”
The ESMO booklet has been developed in a peer-review setting among oncologists, patients and patient advocacy groups, under the guidance of the ESMO Palliative Care Working Group and the ESMO Cancer Patient Working Group. It also received official endorsement from UICC (Union for International Cancer Control), IPOS (International Psycho-Oncology Society) and MASCC (Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer).
“Advanced cancer is definitely a sensitive issue: the ESMO booklet deals with it in a sensitive but also clear and concise manner, offering reference and support with controversial situations like second opinions, participation in clinical trials, treatment failures, managing conflicts with the oncologist and palliative care and end-of-life planning,” said Dr Lorenz Jost, Chair of the ESMO Cancer Patient Working Group.
“This new ESMO guide can make a substantial contribution to improve the patient-oncologist relationship and help develop a new way to deal with the many difficult issues connected to working with patients whose disease cannot be cured.”