The typical patient with metastatic lung cancer lives four to eight months after diagnosis. Yet barely more than half of doctors caring for these patients discuss using hospice care to help manage these last months of life, according to a May 25 Archives of Internal Medicine study.
Bringing up hospice when patients and families often want to keep fighting the cancer is a challenge for doctors, said study co-author John Z. Ayanian, MD, professor of medicine and health care policy at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts.
“But in situations like this, where the overall prognosis is poor, it’s important for physicians to have open and honest discussions so that patients understand their options and don’t suffer when good palliative care could make their remaining quality of life much better,” Dr. Ayanian said.
The whole shebang.