Early palliative care improves outcomes in lung cancer patients

August 30, 2010- Produced and interviewed by Steven Greer, MD

A group from Harvard published a paper in The NEJM that showed early initiation of palliative care in a group of lung cancer patients resulted in improved outcomes and a survival benefit comparable to chemotherapy studies. The trial was randomized. Both cohorts received chemotherapy, with one group having the additional palliative care. Interestingly, although the palliative care group had nearly a three-month longer median survival, the patients opted for less aggressive chemotherapy at the end of life.

In Part 1, above, medical oncologist Dr. Temel summarizes the paper.

In Part 2, Dr. Jackson, acting Director of Palliative Care at the Massachusetts General Hospital elaborates on the specific procedures and counseling provided.

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