Ewer says supportive care has always been necessary in treating cancer patients, but the role has changed for a number of reasons. Cancer patients are being treated with ever-increasing numbers of medications, some of which have devastating side effects. Cardio toxicity, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are such side effects. These complications had been seen in the past, but not to their current extent. In addition to being treated for their cancer, patients need to be managed so they can get through side effects caused by treatment.
Additionally, due to the success of current chemotherapeutic agents and treatment advances, patients are living much longer. With some patients, supportive care may be provided for years or decades rather than months. Ewer concludes by saying that supportive care in cancer is growing for a number of reasons.