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Frailty and Preoperative Palliative Care in Surgical Oncology.

In this paper, we discuss surgical palliative care for patients with cancer through the lens of frailty and the preoperative context. Historically, palliative care principles such as complex symptom management, high-risk decision-making and communication have played an important role in preoperative discussions of oncologic surgery for both palliative and curative intent. There is increasing motivation among surgeons to integrate palliative care into the perioperative period in order to more effectively and comprehensively address potential adverse functional and quality of life outcomes. We discuss how the concept of frailty, and various instruments to measure frailty, have impacted perioperative decision-making, review the roots of surgical risk stratification and counseling on acceptable perioperative risk, and explore the preoperative setting as a possible avenue by which primary and specialty palliative care integration may have beneficial impact for patients considering oncologic resections.

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