Less Treatment, Longer and Better Life

With the caveat that one study is not solid proof of anything, it is very interesting that in at least this instance, early palliative care and less chemo and/or radiation led to better results.

the excerpt is from Miller-McCune online by Joanne Kenan

A study published this week in theNew England Journal of Medicine found that palliative care — which includes talking to patients and families about treatment goals and end-of-life wishes — doesn’t hasten death.

To the contrary, the study of terminally ill lung cancer patients found that early access to palliative care prolonged life — even though the patients opted for less aggressive care as they neared death.

Researchers compared two similar sets of patients at Massachusetts General Hospital with advanced metastatic non-small cell lung cancer — the lethal and fast-moving form of the disease. Both groups got standard cancer treatment, consisting of chemotherapy and/or radiation. But one group also got early and ongoing palliative care.

By several standard measures, the palliative care group had a better quality of life at 12 weeks and was less depressed. In other words, palliative care didn’t put the patients out of their misery. It took at least some of the misery out of the patients.

“Among patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, early palliative care led to significant improvement in both quality of life and mood,” the authors wrote. “As compared with patients receiving standard care, patients receiving early palliative care had less aggressive care at the end of life but longer survival.” More chemotherapy didn’t mean more life…

more via Palliative Care May Trump Heroic Measures in Life Expectancy


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