Novel Tool Identifies Palliative Care Needs Early in Cancer

A novel tool to proactively refer patients with lung cancer to palliative care early after diagnosis can identify palliative care needs even in patients with a good functional status, say researchers from a leading cancer center in the United Kingdom. They also found that the tool could be successfully integrated into existing oncological services.

The findings were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress by Jayne Wood, MD, Symptom Control and Palliative Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. Dr. Wood said that the novel tool, known as Triggers, was developed to help clinicians assess their patients’ palliative care needs at a much earlier stage than is traditionally the case, and potentially refer them for palliative care alongside active treatment.

The tool was tested in the hospital’s lung cancer outpatient clinic during a four-month period, and the results from this initial study showed that more than four fifths of new patients with lung cancer underwent assessment for palliative care within two months of their first visit. Of these patients, three quarters had palliative case needs, despite having a good functional status.

“This tells us that we are addressing a real need, and that the tool is picking up a group of patients who have a real potential to benefit from referral to specialist palliative care,” Dr. Wood commented in a statement. Click here to read the full story.

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