gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Establishment of palliative medicine within the field of oncology is indispensable

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Eberhard Klaschik - Zentrum für Palliativmedizin, Bonn, Deutschland
  • K.E. Clemens - Zentrum für Palliativmedizin, Bonn

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocIS060

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Klaschik et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



The World Health organisation defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Consequentially, all physicians in the field of patient-centred care should be acquainted with the principles of palliative medicine. The particular responsibility of oncologists to be endued with expertise in palliative medicine arises from the following facts: - From about 880,000 deaths in Germany p.a. about 220,000 [25%] are caused by malignant diseases. -Each year, about 350,000 people in Germany are newly diagnosed with cancer. -These reference figures show that about 60% of cancer patients die as a result of their disease. -Medical research, however, has not been able to improve the global prospects of a cure for cancer, even though it was enormously funded. -In the coming 15 years the cancer incidence rate in western European countries is expected to increase by around 30-40%. -In the last year of their life, about 150,000 of the 220,000 patients who die as a result of their malignant disease, suffer severe or severest pain. -In oncological patients, particularly in incurable oncological patients, psychological, social and spiritual burdens are most common. In Germany, voices in favour of a legalisation of euthanasia are being raised with more emphasis. A look at the development in the Netherlands shows that about 90% of the patients who receive euthanasia are tumour patients. Our experience in the field of palliative medicine, however, is that we are able to achieve extremely good results in the alleviation of suffering particularly in tumour patients. The paramount goal in palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients with incurable diseases. In order to make this possible, all physicians need to know the basic principles of palliative medicine. For oncologists, knowledge in this field is a necessity because of the particular tasks within this medical discipline. For patients with a particularly difficult course of their disease, however, the provision of specialists and specialised services, such as palliative home care services, hospital support teams and palliative care units is a sine qua non.