N. Dhollander PhD, MSc, L. Deliens MA, PhD, MSc, S. Kaasa MD, PhD, J.H. Loge MD, PhD, T. Lundeby PhD, L. Lapeire MD, PhD, K. Beernaert MSc, PhD
An international collaboration between 30 experts in oncology, palliative care, public health and psycho-oncology provided opportunities and guidelines on how to achieve full integration based on current findings of palliative care research in a Lancet Oncology Commission paper. This review provides a summary of this commission paper in which an overview is given of the different levels of palliative care and which elements of patient-centred care are crucial in the provision of optimal integrated palliative care. Due to the increase in incidence and prevalence of patients living with advanced cancer and associated care needs, palliative care should be seen as an essential component of comprehensive care throughout the life course and disease trajectory. If cure is not achievable, a combined tumour-directed approach and patient-centred approach is needed. We need to rethink and reorganise the delivery of oncology and palliative care to improve treatment and promote collaboration at the appropriate levels of care. Palliative care needs to be implemented in cancer care plans and in clinical care pathways. To guide patients and their family through the healthcare system and improve their health care outcomes, a multidisciplinary team approach is needed in which primary, secondary and tertiary palliative care providers can collaborate and communicate and in which patients can be referred to tertiary palliative care if needed.