Palliative and end-of-life care is changing in the United States. This dynamic field is improving care for patients with serious and life-threatening cancer through creation of national guidelines for quality care, multidisciplinary educational offerings, research endeavors, and resources made available to clinicians. Barriers to implementing quality palliative care across cancer populations include a rapidly expanding population of older adults who will need cancer care and a decrease in the workforce available to give care. Methods of integrating current palliative care knowledge into care of patients include multidisciplinary national education and research endeavors, and clinician resources. Acceptance of palliative care as a recognized medical specialty provides a valuable resource for improvement of care. Although compilation of evidence for the importance of palliative care specialities is in its initial stages, national research grants have provided support to build the knowledge necessary for appropriate palliative care. Opportunities are available to clinicians for understanding and applying appropriate palliative and end-of-life care to patients with serious and life-threatening cancers.
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