Supportive Care of Patients with Gastrointestinal and Liver Tumors

  • W. Scheppach


The preceding chapters have laid their emphasis on state- of-the-art diagnosis and therapy of tumors at various sites of the gastrointestinal tract. However, specific anti- cancer treatment modalities can only be applied if the patient is in a fair physical and emotional condition. Supportive care aimed at maintaining or improving the patient’s general well-being should not be neglected. At a stage of disease when specific anti-tumor strategies have failed, the patient should be reassured that supportive treatment will continue in a meaningful way. At the end of life, compassionate comfort care can reduce suffering significantly. Health care providers should see themselves not as medical technicians but compassionate human beings, who are willing to accompany their patients through all stages of disease.

Evidence-based data concerning supportive care of cancer patients are very limited. There is a clear need to know more of the principles of palliative medicine as so many of our patients, despite all efforts, will die in the end from their gastrointestinal malignancy. Supportive care is defined as the sum of measures directed at improving the patient’s physical and emotional condition, in the presence or absence of a specific anti-tumor therapy. It includes nutritional support, analgesia, antiemetic therapy, and end-of-life care. Symptomatic treatment of malignant aszites was added because it is a frequent terminal problem in patients with gastrointestinal and liver tumors.


Enteral Nutrition Peritoneal Carcinomatosis Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Ascitic Fluid Enteral Feeding 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Scheppach
    • 1
  1. 1.Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Medizinische UniversitätsklinikWürzburgGermany

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