Canadians with cancer and their caregivers, associate “palliative care” with impending death, and consequently are not taking advantage of the benefits  early palliative care can bring to a patients’ quality of life, according to the authors of a new study. Originally, in the 1960s, palliative care referred to end-of-life care, mainly for cancer patients. The new definition is much broader and international agencies such as the World Health Organization recommend it be applied earlier in a patient’s treatment, in conjunction with other therapies designed to treat the patient. The Authors call for more education to help raise awareness of the benefits to early palliative care and even a change of name to reduce the stigma associated with this type of treatment.


Camilla Zimmermann MD PhD, Nadia Swami BSc, Monika Krzyzanowska MD MPH, Natasha Leighl MD MMSc, Anne Rydall MSc, Gary Rodin MD, Ian Tannock MD PhD, Breffni Hannon MB Ch

Corresponding Author: Camilla Zimmerman, head of Palliative Care for the University Health Network and Medical Director of the Harold and Shirley Lederman Palliative Care Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada. She is also a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and holds the Rose Family Chair in Supportive Care in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto

Original research paper published April 18th, 2016 in CMAJ

Associated News Story in same issue of CMAJ