The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Starting palliative care earlier in lung cancer patients

    Patients with metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer have substantial symptoms and may receive aggressive care at the end of life.

    Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, report improvement with earlier initiation of palliative care.

    First, the details.

    • 151 patients with newly diagnosed metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer were assigned to a treatment group.
      • Palliative care + standard oncologic care
      • Standard oncologic care alone
    • Quality of life and mood were assessed at the start of the study and at 12 weeks using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Lung (FACT-L) scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, respectively.
    • Data on end-of-life care were collected from electronic medical records.

    And, the results.

    • Patients assigned to early palliative care had a better quality of life vs standard care.
    • Significantly fewer patients in the palliative care group had depressive symptoms (16% vs 38%).
    • Despite the fact that significantly fewer patients in the early palliative care group received aggressive end-of-life care (33% vs 54%), they lived significantly longer (12 vs 9 months).

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Among patients with metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer, early palliative care led to significant improvements in both quality of life and mood.”

    Most interesting is that in this study; “patients receiving early palliative care had less aggressive care at the end of life but longer survival.”

    10/1/10 20:29 JR

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