Evidence is mounting for the manifold benefits of palliative care–which is focused on alleviating symptoms–for cancer patients. Studies have shown that cancer patients who receive palliative care experience higher quality of life, less depression, and are better functioning. They also live longer, even though fewer of them undergo aggressive end-of-life care. Thanks to fewer hospitalizations, greater use of palliative care also actually decreases health care costs. Nonetheless, both physicians and patients often shy away from palliative care, as it is frequently–though falsely–associated with death and dying. Unlike hospice care, however, palliative care is intended and appropriate for all patients, regardless of stage or prognosis. Advocates recommend that palliative care should be offered widely and early on in cancer treatment.
Via Cancer Commons