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Supportive and Palliative Care Research

About Supportive and Palliative Care Research

Supportive and palliative care research includes studies to prevent or treat the acute and chronic symptoms and morbidities related to cancer and its treatment; examine the effects of cancer and its treatment on quality of life; and examine psychosocial issues and treatment strategies at the end of life.

Supportive and palliative care research tests interventions to improve the quality of life of patients and their families when facing problems associated with a life-threatening illness. Interventions are aimed at the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, assessment, and treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems.

Symptom management research, a major component of palliative care research, is the largest growth area for the CCOP network. Symptom management clinical trials evaluate therapies to prevent or ameliorate symptoms and/or toxicities associated with cancer and its treatment.

Quality of life research investigates effects of treatment on health-related quality of life, particularly as it pertains to better understanding of toxicities.

End-of-life care research relates to the experience of dying; it includes quality of life, symptom management, environmental, and social influences on that experience.

Areas under study include: effective, practical interventions to prevent or manage cancer and treatment-related symptoms and toxicities across the cancer care continuum, from diagnosis to the end of life; care delivery systems for symptom management; effects of treatment on quality of life; techniques to maintain and restore physical and psychosocial functioning during treatment; and the impact of different care delivery sites, such as the home or a community-based setting, on patient and caregiver quality of life, morbidity, and survival.

In the restructuring of NCI's clinical trials enterprise, the Symptom Management and Health-Related Quality of Life Steering Committee (SxQOL) was created in 2006 to: review and prioritize symptom management intervention clinical trial concepts to be conducted through the NCI Community Oncology Research Program mechanism; provide input to studies with secondary quality-of-life (QOL) endpoints in Cooperative Group treatment studies; and develop prioritization criteria for quality of life studies that are eligible for proposed correlative science set-aside funds.

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