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19 August 2010

Palliative care boosts survival

A new study suggests that starting palliative care early in the treatment of patients with advanced lung cancer can boost their quality of life and lengthen their lives.

Palliative care is often thought of as a medical measure of "last resort".

"The patients who received palliative care in addition to standard care had marked improvement in quality of life, a 50% lower rate of depression and they lived 2.5 months longer than patients not receiving palliative care early," said study author Dr Jennifer S. Temel, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a thoracic oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

"In this disease, two months is a significant amount of time," she said. "We were all surprised with the magnitude of the impact." The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Many misconceptions

 
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