Pediatric Palliative Oncology: A New Training Model for an Emerging Field

Cancer Services News

Snaman, J. et al. JCO: January 20, 2016 vol. 34no. 3 288-289

The article by Hui et al1 on palliative oncologists is compelling. We appreciated the authors’ thoughtful advocacy for the emerging field of palliative oncology. We agree that palliative care (PC) training complements skills accrued during hematology-oncology (HO) training.

As the authors acknowledge, training pathways for palliative oncologists frequently are distinct and nonoverlapping. Typically, oncologists complete a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) after years in practice or add an additional clinical year at the completion of their HO fellowship. The limited exposure to the field of HPM during the HO fellowship impedes or delays the pursuit of research in this area.

For pediatric hematology-oncology (PHO) physicians with an interest in HPM, the options for pursuing a career in pediatric palliative oncology (PPO) are even more limited. Currently, there are 16 US institutions with 21 slots…

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