Palliative Care Can Extend Life of Cancer Patients, Says Study

On August 19, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, according to which, palliative care can work wonders on patients suffering from later stages of lung cancer by extending their life through the application of pain management and counseling services.

The study was carried out for three years and involved 151 lung cancer patients with advanced stage at Massachusetts General Hospital. Some of them were given palliative care along with their oncology treatment and the others were left alone on oncology. With the end of the study in 2009, 70% of the patients had died.

Those who received palliative practices had their lives extended for almost two months and their quality of life had got enhanced, as compared to others who didn’t. Also, they were 50% less likely to get into depression and were also less inclined towards adopting futile measures to extend their lives.

Palliative care works on emotional and spiritual self of the patients that is provided by families and individuals like doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains to comfort the patient’s psychologically.

Jennifer S. Temel, MD, an oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, said, "We were surprised by the magnitude of impact that palliative care had on quality of life, which normally decreases over time in these cancer patients, and the magnitude of the impact it had on depression".