Palliative care not only helps patients with terminal illnesses have less painful deaths but also can increase survival times when it is integrated soon after diagnosis.
That is the finding of a study of 151 Boston-area patients with lung cancer in the Aug. 19 New England Journal of Medicine. The 74 patients who received standard oncologic care at Massachusetts General Hospital for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer had a median survival time of nine months, compared with nearly a year for the 77 patients who received standard care and visited the hospital’s outpatient palliative care service within three months of diagnosis. The patients getting palliative care lived longer despite spending more time in hospice care and receiving less chemotherapy.
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