Although great strides have been made in cancer therapy, half of all patients diagnosed with cancer will die of their disease, and just under one-third of these deaths occur within 6 months of diagnosis. Palliative treatment for symptoms of illness and dying is therefore essential for half of all people diagnosed with cancer. The literature, however, does not reflect this; rather, most of the oncology literature focuses on prevention and curative treatment of malignancies. Patients with cancer typically experience multiple symptoms resulting from effects of the illness and its treatment. Among the most frequent and devastating symptoms are pain, depression, and fatigue.
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