However, it is typically introduced in the last few weeks of life, which means patients miss out on the benefits of palliative care early on in treatment.
A recent study in Canada demonstrates that early incorporation of palliative care into standard treatment for advanced cancer patients leads to increased quality of life and patient satisfaction.
This study surveyed 461 patients across 24 medical oncology clinics with advanced stage lung, GI, genitourinary, breast, and gynecologic cancers over four years. Patients with a clinical prognosis of six to 24 months were cluster-randomized into two groups: one which received standard cancer care and another which received standard care in addition to a consultation and monthly follow up by a palliative care team.
Quality of life, quality of life at end of life, symptom severity, satisfaction with care, and problems with medical interactions were measured at baseline and monthly for four months using standard clinical measurement tools.
To view the results and to read the full article, please visit The Advisory Board Company.