New Study: Palliative Cancer Care Should Focus on Symptoms, Not Diagnoses

Focus and treatment in palliative care for patients with cancer should be based on symptoms instead of specific cancer diagnoses, according to a follow-up study published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

The population based, cross-sectional study was performed in 2007 and 2012 in two hospitals. Nurses and doctors completed questionnaires assessing patients with cancer in various hospital wards to provide data on demographics, symptoms, care needs, and diagnosis. In 2007 and 2012, 2972 and 2843 questionnaires, respectively, were completed.

Results showed that of all hospitalized patients during the study period, 10% were palliative cancer patients. The most commonly diagnosed cancers were lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers. Deterioration and pain were the most frequently reported symptoms at 42% each in both men and women.

The study authors concluded that “the fact that symptoms and care needs were not strongly associated with certain diagnoses implies that care should focus on symptoms rather than the specific diagnosis.” Click here to read more.

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