Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally. It changes the patient’s life, and not only causes many physical and emotional symptoms but also reduces the quality of life (QOL) in patients during the advanced stages of cancer. Today, the main approach in taking care of these patients is to provide supportive and palliative care with the aim of enhancing the QOL in patients and their families and to reduce the cost of treatment and health care. This study was conducted with the aim of comparing the policies and the strategies related to cancer supportive and palliative care in the selected countries, using the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline in the United Kingdom (UK), Malaysia, and South Africa.
This study is a comparative study. The data were collected through reviewing scientific and administrative documents, WHO website and reports, the Ministry of health websites, and other authoritative websites. The search was done through texts in English and the databases, including Science Direct, Scopus, and PubMed between 2000 and December 2018. We used a strategy search according to Medical Subject Headings, using the keywords (cancer, palliative care, supportive care, patients, policies, programs, strategies, UK, Malaysia, and South Africa). The data were analyzed by content analysis approach, using MAXQDA software version 11.
The rates of cancer and mortality differed according to the health differences in the selected countries. With regard to palliative care, various policies and programs were implemented. The implementation of more policies was carried out by the Ministry of Health. In some countries, adequate funding was available to support programs. Countries have been trying to provide decent manpower to provide services. Despite the successes achieved in implementing palliative care programs, some factors, such as inadequate healthcare structures and insufficient financial resources have caused problems in implementing programs.
Countries should consider palliative care as one of the important priorities of the health system and a way of enhancing QOL in patients with cancer and their families, and with regard to the context of each country, focusing on each area of practical guide, reviewing the status and available facilities, and learning from the experiences of other countries should be considered to achieve this goal.