Oncology has come a long way in addressing patients' quality of life, together with developing surgical, radio-oncological and medical anticancer therapies. However, the multiple and varying needs of patients are still not beingmet adequately as part of routine cancer care. Supportive and palliative care interventions should be integrated, dynamic, personalised and based on best evidence. They should start at the time of diagnosis and continue through to end-of-life or survivorship. ESMO is committed to excellence in all aspects of oncological care during the continuum of the cancer experience. Following the 2003 ESMO stand on supportive and palliative care (Cherny N, Catane R, Kosmidis P. ESMO takes a stand on supportive and palliative care. Ann Oncol 2003; 14(9): 1335-1337), this position paper highlights the evolving and growing gap between the needs of cancer patients and the actual provision of care. The concept of patient-centred cancer care is presented along with key requisites and areas for further work.