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Palliative care intervention for patients with advanced cancer provides quality of life benefits
Date:8/18/2009

CHICAGO Patients with advanced cancer who received a palliative care intervention focused on addressing physical and psychosocial issues and care coordination that was provided at the same time as cancer treatment reported improved quality of life and mood but did not experience a significant change in the number of days in the hospital or the severity of their symptoms compared to patients who received usual care, according to a study in the August 19 issue of JAMA.

"Fifty percent of persons with cancer are not cured of their disease; however, with improved treatment even patients with advanced disease may live for years. Providing palliative care concurrent with oncology treatment has been proposed to improve quality of life for patients with advanced cancer," the authors write as background information in the article. Although there are recommended guidelines for palliative care concurrent with cancer treatment (such as chemotherapy and radiation), empirical evidence to support this recommendation has been limited.

Marie Bakitas, D.N.Sc., A.P.R.N., of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues conducted a study from November 2003 through May 2008 to determine the effect of a palliative care intervention on quality of life, symptom intensity, mood, and resource use in 322 patients with advanced cancer. Patients were randomized to receive either the intervention, a multicomponent, psychoeducational program conducted by advanced practice nurses and consisting of 4 weekly educational sessions and monthly follow-up sessions until death or study completion (n = 161); or usual cancer care (n = 161). The researchers add that the intervention used a case management, educational approach to encourage patient activation, self-management and empowerment.

A number of assessment tools were used to measure quality of life, symptom intensity and mood. These measures were assesse
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Contact: Mary Hawkins
Mary.S.Hawkins@Dartmouth.edu
603-653-3615
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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