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Am Fam Physician. 2022;106(1):102-103

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

• Monitoring and addressing distress in patients with cancer and their caregivers are fundamental aspects of palliative care.
• Anticancer therapy can be an element of palliative care, although benefits are unlikely when cancer is progressive and metastatic.
• Adding nonpharmacologic therapies including massage and art or music therapy to medications improves pain and mood.
• Although cachexia is common in advanced cancer, evaluating for treatable causes can be helpful.
From the AFP Editors

In 2021, nearly 2 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer and more than half a million died from the disease; rates are increasing worldwide. More than one-third of people experience at least moderate pain, nausea, anxiety, dyspnea, drowsiness, anorexia, and fatigue in their last weeks of life. Multiple organizations recommend integrating palliative care into cancer treatment from the time of diagnosis. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has updated recommendations for palliative care of patients with cancer.

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Coverage of guidelines from other organizations does not imply endorsement by AFP or the AAFP.

This series is coordinated by Michael J. Arnold, MD, associate medical editor.

A collection of Practice Guidelines published in AFP is available at

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