Supportive care in oncology is a broad term that is composed of indications that are either a symptom of a patient’s cancer or a side effect of cancer treatment. The most prominent cancer supportive care indications include oral mucositis; chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN), chemotherapy-induced anemia (CIA), cancer cachexia and bone metastases.
There is a consensus among Oncology Key Opinion Leaders (KOL's) that supportive oncology had not been given much priority by physicians and institutions in the past. However, there is also a consensus that there is increasing recognition of the importance of full utilization of supportive care methods and treatments.
A growing library of evidence indicates that supportive care: increases likelihood of completing treatment, without the need for dose reductions or treatment pauses; can reduce costs for healthcare institutions; and can improve quality of life for patients—all of which will become increasingly important as patients continue to live longer and cancer progresses to become more like a chronic disease.
Despite the trends in oncology towards targeted therapies, KOLs agree that chemotherapy will remain the backbone of cancer treatment for the next five to 10 years. Thus, as the incidence of cancer rises over the next 10 years, so will the cases of chemotherapy-related conditions, in addition to a rise in general oncology-related conditions.
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