Palliative care: optimizing quality of life

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005 Nov;105(11 Suppl 5):S9-14.


Many developments have occurred in the prevention and treatment of cancer, but death from this disease is still common. According to the World Health Organization, 7 million deaths were due to cancer worldwide in 1999. For dying patients, it is most important to improve quality of life and relieve suffering. Palliative care is defined as the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. It encompasses all treatment modalities that are aimed at enhancing quality of life rather than curing disease. Each patient's definition of quality of life is unique. As such, it is important to treat each person as an individual and to continue to view the patient holistically. Controlling cancer-related symptoms can ameliorate the patient's limited remaining time with family and friends. Palliative chemotherapy, rehabilitation, radiation therapy, surgery, and interventional pain management can help to achieve this objective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiotherapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents