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Survival Compared for Treatments of Uncommon Eye Cancer

Survival Compared for Treatments of Uncommon Eye Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In patients with advanced uveal melanoma, treatment with the agent selumetinib, compared with chemotherapy, resulted in an improved cancer progression-free survival time and tumor response rate, but no improvement in overall survival, according to a study. The modest improvement in clinical outcomes was accompanied by a high rate of adverse events."


Editor's note: Selumetinib is a targeted drug that may benefit people with ocular melanoma. In a recent clinical trial to test the drug in volunteer patients, selumetinib was compared to standard chemotherapy. More patients treated with selumetinib experienced tumor shrinkage than those treated with chemotherapy, and patients treated with selumetinib experienced a longer lag time (about 4 months, compared to 2 months) before their cancer progressed. However, there was no difference in overall survival between patients treated with selumetinib and patients treated with standard chemotherapy. Unfortunately, almost all of the patients who took selumetinib experienced adverse side effects.

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ScienceDaily  |  Jun 17, 2014

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Acral Melanoma Tumors May Require More Aggressive Surgical Treatment

Acral Melanoma Tumors May Require More Aggressive Surgical Treatment | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Acral melanoma was found to have higher recurrence and lower survival rates than other types of melanoma and may require more aggressive surgical intervention, according to researchers.


"The researchers selected patients from a prospectively enrolled cohort of primary melanoma patients at NYU Langone Medical Center; 61 patients with acral melanoma and 183 patients with non-acral melanoma were included. Median follow-up was 33 months in the acral melanoma cohort and 58 months in the non-acral melanoma cohort."

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Healio  |  Jun 11, 2014

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ASCO: Targeting PD-1 Works in Advanced Melanoma

ASCO: Targeting PD-1 Works in Advanced Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Two studies indicate that using investigative immunotherapy drugs improves survival and response in patients with metastatic melanoma, researchers said here.


"In one study, the agent pembrolizumab (MK-3475) which targets the programmed death (PD-1) pathway produced a 1-year 69% survival rate, said Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.


"In a second study reported in a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Mario Sznol, MD, professor of medicine at the Yale Cancer Center, demonstrated that a combination of the investigative PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab in combination with another targeted agent ipilimumab (Yervoy) produced a 1-year survival rate of 85% and 2-year survival rate of 79% for advanced melanoma patients."


Editor's note: Immunotherapy drugs boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Promising research into new immunotherapy drugs for melanoma was recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Two treatments that received special attention were MK-3475 (aka pembrolizumab) and a combination of the drugs ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab.

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MedPage Today  |  Jun 5, 2014

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New Strategies to Improve Quality of Life for Cancer Patients, Caregivers

New Strategies to Improve Quality of Life for Cancer Patients, Caregivers | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"New strategies for easing the short- and long-term effects of cancer therapy and improving the quality of life of patients with cancer, as well as their caregivers have been released by researchers. "We've made incredible strides in cancer treatment, and more cancer survivors are alive today than ever before. But oncology isn't just about helping people live longer -- we need to ensure that patients have the best quality of life possible at every stage of their cancer journey," said one expert."

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ScienceDaily  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Combination Dabrafenib/Trametinib Increased PFS in BRAF-Positive Melanoma

Combination Dabrafenib/Trametinib Increased PFS in BRAF-Positive Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Data from a phase 3 trial demonstrate combination dabrafenib and trametinib was superior to dabrafenib plus placebo for improved PFS in patients with BRAFV600-positive metastatic melanoma, according to data presented here at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'This is the first melanoma trial, phase 3, to have an active control arm,' researcher Georgina V. Long, BSc, PhD, MBBS, FRCP, oncologist at Melanoma Institute Australia at the University of Sydney, said of the COMBI-D trial."


Editor's note: This story describes the results of a clinical trial, in which volunteer patients are help test a new treatment. The treatment consists of a combination of the targeted therapy drugs dabrafenib and trametinib. Patients treated with the combination lived longer without progression of their cancer than patients who received dabrafenib plus a non-active placebo. Importantly, these results are specific to patients whose tumors have "BRAF V600E" mutations, which doctors can detect via molecular testing.

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Healio  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Half of All Cancer Patients Now Survive at Least 10 Years

Half of All Cancer Patients Now Survive at Least 10 Years | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Fifty per cent of people diagnosed with cancer today will survive their disease for at least 10 years, according to landmark figures published by Cancer Research UK today.


"In the early 1970s just a quarter of people diagnosed with cancer survived 10 years.


"Today, Cancer Research UK sets out an ambitious new strategy to accelerate progress with the ambition that three-quarters (75 per cent) of all cancer patients diagnosed in 20 years time will survive at least 10 years."

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 29, 2014

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Survival Hope for Melanoma Patients Thanks to New Vaccine

Survival Hope for Melanoma Patients Thanks to New Vaccine | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that a new trial vaccine offers the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability to stop or reverse the cancer.


"The vaccine, known as vaccinia melanoma cell lysate (VMCL), was given regularly as a treatment to 54 South Australian patients with advanced, inoperable melanoma over a 10-year period."


Editor's note: The cancer vaccine VMCL is a type of immunotherapy, which means it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer.

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 17, 2014

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Biomarker Identifies Melanoma Patients Who May Respond to Immunotherapy MK-3475

Biomarker Identifies Melanoma Patients Who May Respond to Immunotherapy MK-3475 | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Among melanoma patients treated with the PD-1 inhibitor MK-3475, those whose tumors had the protein PD-L1 had better immune responses and higher survival rates, according to results presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, April 5-9.


"When the protein PD-L1, which is present on some melanoma tumors, binds to PD-1, a protein present on T cells, "brakes" are applied on these T cells, preventing them from attacking the cancer cells. The immunotherapy MK-3475 blocks PD-1, releasing the brakes on T cells and enabling them to attack the cancer cells."


Editor's note: This story is about a drug called MK-3475 (aka lambrolizumab), which boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. It has shown promising results in clinical trials. Learn more about MK-3475 in this blog post.

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 7, 2014

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Racial Disparities in Cancer Survival Persisted Over 20-Year Period

Racial Disparities in Cancer Survival Persisted Over 20-Year Period | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Race-based differences in cancer survival have not changed over time, and the disparities among black patients persist independent of treatment and disease stage, study results showed.


"Ayal A. Aizer, MD, MHS, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues used the SEER database to identify 2.7 million patients diagnosed with lung, breast, prostate or colorectal cancers between 1988 and 2007. The final analysis included more than 1 million patients."

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Healio  |  Apr 2, 2014

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ASCO: ‘Smaller, Smarter’ Cancer Trials Will Yield More Meaningful Results

ASCO: ‘Smaller, Smarter’ Cancer Trials Will Yield More Meaningful Results | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"ASCO recently released new recommendations designed to increase the likelihood of 'clinical meaningful outcomes' in trials for advanced pancreatic, lung, breast and colon cancers.


"The recommendations — developed by the ASCO Cancer Research Committee in conjunction with other experts and patient advocates, and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology — establish OS goals for clinical trial designs that are intended to significantly extend the lives of people with cancer."

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Healio  |  Mar 23, 2014

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The Number of Tumor Cells Spread to Sentinel Lymph Nodes Affects Melanoma Prognosis

The Number of Tumor Cells Spread to Sentinel Lymph Nodes Affects Melanoma Prognosis | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it
Cancer cell spread to the sentinel node -- the lymph node to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor -- is a risk factor for melanoma death. The prognosis of a patient largely depends on the number of disseminated cancer cells per million lymphocytes in the sentinel node. Even very low numbers were found to be predictive for reduced survival.
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ScienceDaily  |  Feb 18, 2014

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Extended Follow-up in BRIM-3 Shows Prolonged Survival With Vemurafenib in BRAF V600E/K Mutation–Positive Melanoma

Extended Follow-up in BRIM-3 Shows Prolonged Survival With Vemurafenib in BRAF V600E/K Mutation–Positive Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In the BRIM-3 trial, vemurafenib (Zelboraf) was associated with improved progression-free and overall survival vs dacarbazine in patients with advanced BRAF V600 mutation–positive melanoma. In an extended follow-up reported in The Lancet Oncology, McArthur et al found that superior survival outcomes were maintained and were present in both theBRAF V600E and BRAF V600K mutation subgroups."


Editor's note: Read more about vemurafenib here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a612009.html

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The ASCO Post  |  Feb 12, 2014

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Early, High-Dose Interferon Fails to Stop Melanoma

Early, High-Dose Interferon Fails to Stop Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new study has dashed hopes that high doses of interferon given early on would be enough to curb melanoma. In a phase II clinical trial of about 200 people with melanomas that had not begun to spread, researchers treated half with high-dose interferon every day for a month and the other half with the same high-dose interferon regimen followed by 48 weeks of "maintenance" doses of this immune response-boosting protein. Maintenance doses are typically about 50% lower and are given three times a week instead of daily. The researchers found that the latter group did better, living longer without recurrence as well as surviving longer overall. The latter year-long interferon treatment is standard in the US and Australia, while lower doses of interferon are more commonly used in Europe, says an accompanying editorial.

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Journal of Clinical Oncology  |  Dec 16, 2013

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Vitamin D Blog: Do Low Levels Raise Cancer Death Rates?

Vitamin D Blog: Do Low Levels Raise Cancer Death Rates? | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Low levels of vitamin D were associated with higher cancer mortality in people with a history of cancer, a study found.


"Based on a meta-analysis, low 25(OH) vitamin D levels were tied to a risk ratio of 1.70 (95% CI 1.00-2.88) in cancer patients with a disease history. Inadequate vitamin D levels also were linked to an increase in all-cause mortality (RR 1.57, 95% CI 1.36-1.81) and cardiovascular mortality (RR 1.41, 95% CI 1.18-1.68), reported Ben Schöttker, PhD, of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and colleagues in BMJ."

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MedPage Today  |  Jun 17, 2014

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Adjuvant Ipilimumab Improved RFS in High-Risk, Stage III Melanoma

Adjuvant Ipilimumab Improved RFS in High-Risk, Stage III Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Adjuvant ipilimumab significantly improved RFS compared with placebo among patients with resected stage III melanoma who were at high risk for recurrence, according to the final analysis of a phase 3 study presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'Although there are approved adjuvant therapies, they are still to be improved, and this is clearly an unmet need,' researcher Alexander Eggermont, MD, PhD, director general of the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus Grand Paris in France, said during a press conference. 'Ipilimumab is the first drug approved for metastatic melanoma, based on a proven impact on OS. This is the first trial ever with a drug that had an improvement in OS in metastatic melanoma.' "


Editor's note: Patients with advanced melanoma who have their tumors removed by surgery ("resected") can be at high risk for recurrence of their cancer. In a clinical trial with volunteer patients, researchers are testing an "adjuvant" treatment meant to prevent recurrence. All patients had resected stage III melanoma. It was found that patients who took the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy) after resection had a significantly greater amount of time pass before recurrence than patients who took a placebo. Further follow-up of the patients will reveal effects on overall survival.

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Healio  |  Jun 10, 2014

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Living With Cancer: Chronic, Not Cured

Living With Cancer: Chronic, Not Cured | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"At the end of yoga sessions for cancer patients, we are told to say to ourselves, 'I am whole, healed and healthy in this and every moment.' Perversely, since in yoga we express aspirations as if they were already so, the sentence reminds me of people who congratulate me on being 'cancer free.' Stable disease often goes unrecognized.


"Perhaps the concept of chronic cancer has been hard to comprehend because public discussion tends to focus on the initial diagnosis of breast cancer. Early detection of breast cancer yields good survival rates and many patients can consider themselves cured. Often we assume a clear-cut partition between survivors and the terminally ill."


Editor's note: This article addresses the under-recognition of chronic cancer that is neither cured nor quickly progressing, and how patients cope with finding themselves in this "gray area."

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The New York Times  |  Jun 5, 2014

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, June 6, 12:27 PM

Finally!  Credit to the advocates for finally creating recognition for a segment of the cancer survivor population that has long been kept out of conversations - and, yes, even some support groups.  Education is the first step.  Chronic and metastatic disease can be a confronting conversation but to ignore the unique challenges, concerns and needs of any part of the population dealing with the impact of cancer is not acceptable.  Wonderful to see a mainstream media source bringing this issue to the forefront.  Education leads to less fear, less judgment, less ignorance and greater compassion, connection and support.

Beth A. Williams's curator insight, June 7, 12:41 PM

This article raises an important facet of some cancers -- that of a chronic condition rather than either a "cure" or an actively progressing disease. How others view this "gray area" vs. how cancer patients view it can make a difference in how supported the individual feels. Nonetheless, my view is that the cancer patient's perspective, attitudes and beliefs trump what goes on externally, and that we can choose happiness regardless of what is going on around us.

Teresa Levitch's curator insight, July 4, 9:00 AM

Given the long term effects of cancer treatment, such as Radiation Fibrosis, Chemo Brain, and Secondary Cancers ,after we are declared in remission we live in a gray area..

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Long-Term Results Encouraging for Combination Immunotherapy for Advanced Melanoma

Long-Term Results Encouraging for Combination Immunotherapy for Advanced Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The first long-term follow-up results from a phase 1b immunotherapy trial combining drugs for advanced melanoma patients has shown encouraging results—long-lasting with high survival rates—researchers report. First author Mario Sznol, M.D., professor of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center, is presenting the updated data at the 2014 annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.


"Sznol, clinical research leader of the melanoma research program at Yale Cancer Center, was the senior author on the original study of combination immunotherapy that was first published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at ASCO in 2013. Jedd Wolchok, M.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was first author of the earlier study, and senior author of this updated research."


Editor's note: Immunotherapy treatments boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. This story describes a promising treatment that combines two immunotherapy drugs: nivolumab and ipilimumab (Yervoy).

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know

Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"At first glance, the connection between a cancer diagnosis and depression might seem to be an obvious one. However, in patients battling this life-threatening disease, depression can have a serious impact, and even worsen the odds of survival. While the best approach to interrupting this vicious cycle is not fully understood, clinicians can help patients improve their odds by availing them of therapeutic resources and open communication."

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Healio  |  May 13, 2014

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, May 24, 3:29 PM

So few survivors are being screened for anxiety and depression - which impact quality of life.  It's important for survivors and caregivers to be aware of these ten things and communicate with healthcare providers when necessary.

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Cancer Patients Need Anxiety, Depression Screening

Cancer Patients Need Anxiety, Depression Screening | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"It is important to recognize and treat anxiety or depression among cancer patients, according to a clinical guideline published online April 14 in theJournal of Clinical Oncology...


"The panel recommends that all patients with cancer be evaluated for symptoms of depression and anxiety periodically throughout care. Validated, published measures and procedures should be used for assessments. Different treatment pathways are recommended depending on symptom level. The risk for poor quality of life and potential disease-related morbidity and mortality is increased by the failure to identify and treat anxiety and depression."

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 22, 2014

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UPDATE 1-Amgen Melanoma Drug Fails to Improve Overall Survival Rates

"Amgen Inc said its experimental drug to treat a deadly form of skin cancer did not significantly improve overall survival rates in patients enrolled in a late-stage study.


"The company said the drug met the study's main goal of shrinking tumors, as it had previously reported, but did not meet the secondary goal of improving overall survival in patients with melanoma."


Editor's note: Earlier results from this trial showed that the drug (called T-Vec) improved "progression free survival," which refers to the length of time before a patient's tumor begins growing again. Now, T-Vec has been shown not to affect overall survival times.

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Reuters  |  Apr 4, 2014

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New General Concept for the Treatment of Cancer

New General Concept for the Treatment of Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A team of researchers from five Swedish universities, led by Karolinska Institutet and the Science for Life Laboratory, have identified a new way of treating cancer. The concept is presented in the journal Nature and is based on inhibiting a specific enzyme called MTH1, which cancer cells, unlike normal cells, require for survival. Without this enzyme, oxidized nucleotides are incorporated into DNA, resulting in lethal DNA double-strand breaks in cancer cells."


Editor's note: As stated in the article, it will be a couple of years before this treatment becomes available to patients in clinical trials. Other "targeted therapies" are already being used to treat cancer.

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 2, 2014

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Nonsentinel Lymph Node Status in Melanoma Has Prognostic Value

Nonsentinel Lymph Node Status in Melanoma Has Prognostic Value | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Nonsentinel lymph node (NSLN) status in patients who underwent complete lymph node dissection after positive sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) had independent prognostic value in patients with two to three positive lymph nodes, according to the results of a study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


"Furthermore, researchers led by Sandro Pasquali, MD, of the University of Padova, Italy, found that patients who had metastatic disease in their NSLN had their risk for melanoma death increased by more than one-third."


Editor's note: Sentinel lymph nodes (those closest to the tumor) can be examined to predict whether a patient will survive melanoma. This study shows that nonsentinel lymph nodes could potentially be used for survival predictions. We covered a similar story last July.

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Cancer Network  |  Apr 1, 2014

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ASCO Sets Up Framework to Improve Cancer Care

ASCO Sets Up Framework to Improve Cancer Care | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A new report, published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in the Journal of Oncology Practice and presented in part via a live Webcast in Washington, DC, outlined the current and future challenges of cancer care in the United States. An increasing cost of care and demand for quality care, growing cancer patient and cancer survivor populations, and a decreasing oncology workforce are all contributing to a challenging environment for cancer care."

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Cancer Network  |  Mar 19, 2014

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Biopsy Staging Ups Survival in Melanoma

Biopsy Staging Ups Survival in Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Biopsy-based staging of thicker melanomas led to significantly better 10-year metastasis-free and disease-specific survival compared with wide excision and nodal observation, a randomized trial showed."

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MedPage Today  |  Feb 12, 2014

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Experts Say Palliative Care Underused in Cancer Care

Experts Say Palliative Care Underused in Cancer Care | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Integrating palliative care earlier in the disease process can improve quality of life and possibly survival for patients with advanced cancer, but its value is widely misunderstood, according to a recent review by palliative care experts in the New England Journal of Medicine.


"Most palliative care currently is provided at end-of-life due to its perceived association with hospice care, said the article, co-authored by experts from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, the American Cancer Society, and Johns Hopkins University. But whereas hospice care provides comfort for patients in the last stages of an incurable disease, palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms and can be provided in concert with curative treatment at any stage in a serious illness."

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  Feb 6, 2014