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Study demonstrates that earlier end of life care discussions are linked to less aggressive care in final days of life
Date:11/13/2012

ho recognize that their cancer is terminal want to receive less aggressive care at the end of life," said Dr. Mack. However, aggressive care is still common in this setting, in part because discussions about the end of life are often postponed because they are difficult for both physicians and patients. This study also found that 17 percent of patients or surrogates did not recall EOL care discussions even though they were documented in the medical records, suggesting they may not have fully comprehended the content of the discussion.

The authors emphasize that more research is needed to explore how content of EOL care discussions affects patients' comprehension of the information and subsequent decisions made. In addition, the study underscores a need for a national emphasis from ASCO and many other professional and patient groups on advanced cancer care planning in physician education and training programs.

ASCO Perspective

Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, ASCO President

"Conversations about treatment options for advanced cancer are extremely difficult for patients, their families and their oncologist. But this study underscores a growing body of evidence that the earlier these conversations take place, the better because they have a real impact on a patient's quality of life in their final days. We need more education for physicians on topics like this and more training on communication skills for discussing prognosis."

To view a full copy of the study click here:http://www.jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2012/11/13/JCO.2012.43.6055.full.pdf+html

Helpful Links from Cancer.Net, ASCO's cancer information website:

Guides to Cancer: http://www.cancer.net/cancer

Advanced Cancer Care Planning:

Contact: Amanda Narod
amanda.narod@asco.org
571-483-1364
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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