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Supportive care in oncology Learning Zone

Transcript: What is the difference between supportive, palliative and patient-centred care

Last updated:20th May 2024
Published:20th May 2024

Dr Matti Aapro

All transcripts are created from interview footage and directly reflect the content of the interview at the time. The content is that of the speaker and is not adjusted by Medthority.


Supportive care in general is understood as what is being done when there is active anti-cancer treatment. Palliative care is understood as what provides palliation to the patient, not only because of the treatment, but because of the disease itself, often in a situation when the active treatment is not being provided anymore. And of course, there's a continuum between all of these steps, and sometimes a patient will go back to supportive care from a palliative care situation, because something was found that had not been understood first, and which allows to intervene with a potentially useful treatment, which could also be not only medical treatment but radiotherapy or surgery for these patients. And, all of this has to be patient-centred.
Now, this is a big buzzword for me, this patient-centred treatment. We have always thought of the patient's interests. Maybe, we haven't said it correctly. But, everything we do in medicine is patient-centred. It is not centred around a disease. It is centred around a person that unfortunately has that particular disease.