Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Palliative Therapy

  • Michael MacManus
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4352-2


The term “palliative” (from the Latin palliare, to cloak) is often applied to treatment that is given with the intention of reducing the severity of the symptoms of cancer or is intended to slow the progress of the disease. Palliative treatment is given without the intention of providing a cure. Much of the care that is provided to cancer patients is effectively palliative in nature and represents an enormous expenditure of resources by health agencies in developed countries.


A decision to use palliative therapy in cancer implies that the patient has a malignant disease process that has been recognized as being impossible to cure. The use of “radical” or aggressive therapies with curative intent would be futile for such patients. Palliative therapies for cancer are therefore given without any real expectation of permanently eradicating the disease process causing the symptoms, although very rarely, long-term survival and even cure can be an unintended but...


Androgen Receptor Follicular Lymphoma Advanced Prostate Cancer Palliative Chemotherapy Palliative Radiotherapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bunn PA Jr (2002) Chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: who, what, when, why? J Clin Oncol 20:23S–33SPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Hoskin PJ, Bownes P (2006) Innovative technologies in radiation therapy: brachytherapy. Semin Radiat Oncol 16:209–217CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Lester JF, Macbeth FR, Toy E et al (2006) Palliative radiotherapy regimens for non-small cell lung cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev: CD002143Google Scholar
  4. Martin CM (2006) Understanding palliative care. Consult Pharm 21:698–713CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyPeter MacCallum Cancer CentreEast MelbourneAustralia