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Study shows strong interest in palliative care programs, services and integration vary across nation
Date:3/17/2010

HOUSTON - A study from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports that cancer centers in the United States provide patients and their families with palliative care, though the depth, range and integration of programs and services widely vary.

The study, which is published in the March 17 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was presented today at a special JAMA media briefing focused on cancer topics.

Despite the many advances in cancer research, palliative care - the medical specialty focused on relieving debilitating symptoms or disease or treatment complications, caring for the dying and providing psychosocial care for the patient and family - continues to play a vital role in the continuum of cancer care, according to the study.

"We know that palliative care is most effective when incorporated early in oncology care," said David Hui, M.D., a fellow in M. D. Anderson's Department of Palliative Care and Symptom Management and lead author of the study. "We've recently seen a positive movement among a number of institutions and oncology and patient advocacy organizations pushing for increased palliative care services and early incorporation of such care, but we wanted to better understand how services and programs were structured and what barriers there might be to developing a more consistent approach."

What Hui and the research team from M. D. Anderson and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found was that NCI-designated cancer centers are significantly more likely to have a comprehensive palliative care program than non NCI-designated centers, though most responding cancer center executives supported stronger integration and enhanced resources.

The questionnaire, which was sent to executives and program leaders at the 71 NCI-designated cancer centers and 71 non-NCI cancer centers, revealed that 98 percent of NCI cancer centers had a palliative care
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Contact: Julie Penne
jpenne@mdanderson.org
713‑792‑0662
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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