Health-care institutions and major stakeholders pointed out years ago that palliative care is a vital part of caring for patients with life-threatening diseases and applicable early in the course of the disease together with life-prolonging and disease-modifying therapies (WHO 2007). Yet, palliative care has been equated with end-of-life care by many physicians, including cancer specialists, the public, and policy makers (Parikh et al. 2013). Often, physicians have been rather reluctant to deliver basic palliative care interventions, such as the routine assessment and management of patients psychosocial needs. Few have received specialist training for symptom control such as pain management (Breuer et al. 2011). Likewise, the routine integration of specialist palliative care services is still the exception and not the norm (Wentlandt et al. 2012).
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