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Hematologic Malignancies
Palliative Care

Integrating Palliative Care Education Into Hematology-Oncology Fellowships

An integrated palliative care rotation for hematology-oncology fellows may improve their palliative care knowledge and skill confidence, according to findings presented by Bauman et al at the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting (Abstract 9007). “Despite national guidelines advocating that patients with...

Palliative Care

In Celebration of a Remarkable Life and Career in Oncology

When Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, FASCO, graduated from high school in 1970 and enrolled at the University of Illinois in Champaign, she was determined to seek a career in special education, because she wanted to “help people through difficult situations.” Although Dr. Von Roenn ultimately decided to...

Lung Cancer
Palliative Care

New Study Highlights Benefits of Stepped Palliative Care in Advanced Lung Cancer

Researchers have shown the effectiveness of more scalable ways of delivering palliative care in patients with advanced lung cancer, according to new findings published by Temel et al in JAMA and simultaneously presented at the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting (Abstract 12000). Background More intensive...

palliative care

Joseph A. Greer, PhD, on Lung Cancer: Telehealth vs In-Person Palliative Care

Joseph A. Greer, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, discusses study findings showing the merits of delivering early palliative care via telehealth vs in person to patients with advanced lung cancer. Using telemedicine in this way may potentially improve access to and more broadly disseminate this evidence-based care model (LBA3).

Lung Cancer
Palliative Care

Telehealth Shown to Be Effective for Palliative Care Delivery in Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer

New research reinforces the telehealth delivery of palliative care as an effective alternative to in-person visits for patients with advanced lung cancer, providing comparable quality-of-life benefits. This research was presented by Joseph Greer, PhD, and colleagues at the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting...

Palliative Care

Providing Culturally Sensitive Palliative Care to Children With Cancer

In the fall of 2023, Justin Baker, MD, took on the role of Chief of the Division of Quality of Life and Pediatric Palliative Care and Director of the Quality of Life for All Program, Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, Stanford, California. He formerly worked at St. Jude Children’s Research...

Palliative Care

Understanding the Discordance About Prognosis Between Clinicians and Terminally Ill Patients and Their Surrogates

Research shows that about half of adults near the end of life in the United States are too ill to participate in decisions about whether to accept life-prolonging treatment,1 requiring family members and other proxies to serve as surrogate decision-makers for their critically ill loved ones....

Palliative Care

ASCO Launches New Webinar: Making Palliative Care a Part of Your Oncology Practice

ASCO President Lynn Schuchter, MD, FASCO, has made access to palliative and supportive care among patients with cancer a central focus of her presidential term. Although not all cancer clinicians can be palliative care specialists, because palliative and supportive care are so essential to every...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Racial and Ethnic Minority Patients With Breast Cancer May Be Less Likely to Receive Palliative Care Than White Patients

Despite a steady increase in palliative care utilization from 2004 to 2020, racial and ethnic minority patients with metastatic breast cancer may be less likely to receive palliative care compared with non-Hispanic White patients with the disease, according to new findings presented by Freeman et...

Supportive Care
Pain Management
Palliative Care
Symptom Management

Using Recent Diagnostic Scans May Cut Time to Treatment for Patients Needing Urgent Palliative Radiotherapy

Using previously taken diagnostic computed tomography (CT) scans in place of CT simulation scans to plan simple palliative radiation treatments may substantially reduce the time spent waiting for urgent treatment, improving the patient experience, a new study suggests. Patients who may benefit from ...

Breast Cancer
Palliative Care

Two Studies Highlight Benefits in Quality of Life and Symptom Management With Novel Treatments of Advanced Breast Cancer

Recent improvements in overall and progression-free survival for patients with HER2-positive and estrogen receptor–positive breast cancers have not come at the expense of quality of life or symptom management, according to a pair of studies presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Trends in Receipt of End-of-Life Systemic Treatment for Patients With Cancer

In a U.S. study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Canavan et al found that White vs Black patients, patients with commercial insurance vs Medicare/Medicaid, and patients treated at community practices vs academic centers were more likely to receive end-of-life systemic therapy for...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Medicaid Expansion May Be Linked to Increase in Palliative Care for Patients With Advanced Cancers

The expansion of Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act may be associated with the largest increases in critical palliative care services for patients with advanced cancers in the United States, according to a new study published by Han et al in Health Affairs. The findings uncovered how...

Gastrointestinal Cancer
Palliative Care

Perioperative Palliative Care and Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients Undergoing Curative-Intent Surgery for Upper Gastrointestinal Cancers

In a study reported in JAMA Network Open, Aslakson et al found that perioperative surgeon/palliative care team co-management did not improve health-related quality of life vs surgeon team management alone in patients undergoing curative-intent surgery for upper gastrointestinal cancers. Study...

Bladder Cancer
Gynecologic Cancers
Gastrointestinal Cancer
Palliative Care

Specialist Palliative Care for Patients Undergoing Major Abdominal Surgery for Cancer

In a single-center trial reported in JAMA Surgery, Shinall et al found that specialist palliative care did not improve quality of life or survival vs usual care in patients undergoing nonpalliative major abdominal surgery for cancer. Study Details In the trial, 235 patients scheduled for specified...

Palliative Care
Supportive Care

Advance Care Planning May Lead to Less Aggressive, More Comfort-Focused Care for Patients With Cancer

Investigators have found that patients with advanced cancer who participated in advance care planning may have received less aggressive and more comfort-focused end-of-life cancer care compared with those who did not participate in advance care planning, according to a new study published by Levoy...

Palliative Care

Training Oncology Nurses on Primary Palliative Care May Improve End-of-Life Care and Spur Creation of Advance Directives for Patients With Cancer

Specially trained oncology infusion room nurses may be capable of improving advance care planning for patients with advanced cancer at the end of life, according to a new study published by Cohen et al in JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Background “Advance care planning...

Breast Cancer
Palliative Care

How Effectively Are You Helping Patients With Cancer at the End of Life?

“Providing hope when there is little to hope for is hard,” noted Hyman B. Muss, MD, Professor of Medicine and the Mary Jones Hudson Distinguished Professor of Geriatric Oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. At the 2023 Miami...

Palliative Care

Understanding the Link Between Prognostic Perception and Patient-Oncologist Prognostic Discordance in the Advanced Cancer Setting

Studies have shown that although patients with advanced cancer want their oncologists to give them an honest assessment of their prognosis, most patients still perceive their illness as curable.1 And that lack of understanding of their prognosis can lead to reduced use of hospice care and increased ...

Immunotherapy
Cost of Care
Palliative Care

Immunotherapy Costs May Drive Increase in Medicare Spending for Outpatient End-of-Life Cancer Care

Researchers have discovered that recent increases in Medicare spending on outpatient end-of-life cancer care may have been driven almost entirely by costs associated with immunotherapy, which is given to fewer than one in five patients, according to a new study published by Mantz et al in the...

COVID-19
Palliative Care

Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Place of Death Among Medicaid-Insured and Commercially Insured Patients With Cancer in Washington State

In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Panattoni et al found that patients dying from cancer located in Washington State who were insured by Medicaid were more likely to die at home without hospice services during the COVID-19 pandemic than those with commercial insurance. Study...

Palliative Care

How Low-Dose Oral Minoxidil Is Providing Hope for Patients With Later-Stage Alopecia

Chemotherapy-induced hair loss affects 65% of patients with cancer,1 and the psychosocial impact on these patients can be profound; it may include anxiety, depression, a negative body image, lowered self-esteem, and a reduced sense of well-being.2 In some instances, the fear of hair loss from...

Supportive Care
Symptom Management
Palliative Care

Does CBD Oil Improve Symptom Distress in Patients With Advanced Cancer Receiving Palliative Care?

In an Australian phase IIb trial (MedCan1-CBD) reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Hardy et al found that use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil did not improve symptom distress vs placebo in adult patients with advanced cancer receiving palliative care. Study Details The double-blind multicenter...

palliative care
legislation

Xuesong Han, PhD, on Medicaid Expansion and Receipt of Palliative Care Among Individuals Newly Diagnosed With Advanced-Stage Cancers

Xuesong Han, PhD, of the American Cancer Society, discusses findings showing that among newly diagnosed patients with stage IV cancers, Medicaid expansion was associated with increases in receipt of palliative care, although overall usage was low. The increase varied by cancer type. Improving Medicaid coverage may facilitate access to guideline-based palliative care (Abstract 73).

Breast Cancer
Palliative Care
Survivorship

ASCO Launches Webinar Series to Close the Global Divide Between Survivorship and Palliative Care in Breast Cancer

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and World Hospice & Palliative Care Day, ASCO and its partners—the International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care; Tómatelo a Pecho, A.C.; the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Institute for Advanced Study of the ...

Palliative Care

Palliative Care Use Among Commercially Insured U.S. Patients With Metastatic Cancer: 2001–2016

In a study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Ferrario et al found that while use of palliative care among commercially insured patients aged 25 to 64 years in the United States with metastatic cancer has increased since 2001, use remained at 40% among patients with very poor–prognosis cancers in...

Palliative Care
Legislation
Health-Care Policy

Medicaid Expansion and Palliative Care Use Among Patients Newly Diagnosed With Advanced Cancer

Recent data showed that Medicaid expansion may be associated with increased use of palliative care among newly diagnosed individuals with stage IV cancer, although overall usage of palliative care was low. In addition, the increase after Medicaid expansion varied by cancer type, according to a...

Supportive Care
Palliative Care

Study Examines Effects of Advance Care Planning for Adolescents With Cancer

In a recently published study by Needle et al in JAMA Network Open, University of Minnesota researchers and colleagues say adolescents with cancer deserve a voice in medical decisions made for and about them.  “Adolescents with cancer should be given the opportunity to participate in their own...

Palliative Care

Is Advance Care Planning of Any Value?

An article in The New York Times earlier this year crystallized the dilemma facing health-care providers when they are presented with a patient in a life-threatening situation: Should they rely on advance care directives written years prior to the current medical situation to accurately determine...

Hematologic Malignancies
Palliative Care

Study Investigates Rural/Urban Disparities in Hospice Care Among Patients With Hematologic Malignancies

People with blood cancers living in rural areas are less likely to receive end-of-life hospice care compared to those living in metropolitan regions, according to a new study published by Hussaini et al in the journal Blood Advances. In this study, researchers identified significant disparities in...

Palliative Care

Understanding Oncologists’ Perceptions About Palliative Care and the Barriers Preventing Its Use

Despite studies showing the benefits of early palliative care in improving the quality of life of patients with advanced cancer (including reducing symptoms of depression),1 a recent survey of oncologists found there is broad variation in the appropriate utilization of this care.2 Conducted by...

Survivorship
Palliative Care

Managing Long-Term Toxicity From Pelvic Radiation Therapy

Advances over the past 3 decades in improvements in cancer prevention and screening strategies and more effective diagnostics and therapies in cancer care have led to unprecedented declines in death rates from all cancers, including prostate, gynecologic, and colorectal/anal cancers. The fastest...

Palliative Care

Palliative Care Use Among Commercially Insured U.S. Patients With Metastatic Cancer: 2001–2016

In a study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Ferrario et al found that while use of palliative care among commercially insured patients aged 25 to 64 years in the United States with metastatic cancer has increased since 2001, use remained at 40% among patients with very poor–prognosis cancers in...

Leukemia
Palliative Care

Study Reveals Gaps in Code Status Discussions Among Patients With High-Risk AML

Oncologists and health-care professionals who treat patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are missing important opportunities to have end-of-life discussions at earlier stages in the disease course, when patients are best able to discuss their options and preferences. These findings...

Palliative Care

Managing Illness Expectations in Patients With Advanced Cancer

In a study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Sigler et al found that an oncology nurse–led primary palliative care intervention known as CONNECT did not increase realistic illness expectations among patients with advanced cancer. Study Details The study involved adults with advanced solid tumors...

Palliative Care

The Role of Spirituality in Palliative Care

National surveys consistently show that spirituality and religion are important components in the lives of most Americans, with more than 90% of adults expressing a belief in God and more than 70% identifying religion as one of the most important influences in their lives.1 Studies also show that...

Palliative Care

Effect of Embedding a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner in an Oncology Clinic

In a single-center study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, D’Ambruoso et al found that their Integrated Palliative Care and Oncology Program, which included the embedding of a palliative care nurse practitioner (PC-NP) in an oncology clinic, resulted in marked improvements in aspects of palliative ...

Supportive Care
Palliative Care

Risks and Benefits Associated With Gastrostomy Tubes for Patients With Cancer

In a study published by Gauvin et al in JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, researchers examined over 200 patients with gastrostomy tubes and highlighted the need for a multidisciplinary approach to palliative care decision-making for patients with cancer. A gastrostomy tube ...

issues in oncology
palliative care

Divya Gupta, MD, on Improving Advance Care Planning Conversations With Patients

Divya Gupta, MD, of the Stanford Cancer Center, discusses an intervention utilizing a computer model and lay care coaches to improve advance care planning conversations with patients who have metastatic cancer. The study, Dr. Gupta reports, showed a trend toward less intensive care for patients at the end of life.

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Disparities in Terminal Hospitalization Among Adults With Metastatic Cancer

In a retrospective population-based study reported in JAMA Network Open, Deeb et al found that patients with metastatic cancer from racial and ethnic minority groups and those without private insurance were more likely to be admitted from the emergency department, receive invasive mechanical...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Improving End-of-Life Discussions With Patients Who Have Advanced Cancer

Although studies have shown that patients with advanced cancer want their oncologists to discuss their advance care plans with them, fewer than half of those patients have that conversation. The reasons are many, including the difficulty many oncologists have in initiating conversations about...

Palliative Care
COVID-19

How COVID-19 Is Spotlighting the Role of Palliative Medicine

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the tragedy of patients dying in isolation, separated from family and friends to limit infection in hospital settings. The process has altered the experience of serious illness for patients and their loved ones, including their ability to grieve, share important...

Palliative Care
Pain Management

Trends in Opioid Prescriptions Among Patients With Cancer Near the End of Life

In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Enzinger et al found that the prescription of opioids for cancer pain dropped markedly in the recent past among patients with poor-prognosis disease near the end of life, with the frequency of pain-related emergency department visits...

Head and Neck Cancer
Palliative Care

Weekly Outpatient Palliative Care Interventions Among Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Over 90% of patients with head and neck cancer receiving curative-intent chemoradiation therapy found weekly palliative care visits to be a valuable addition to their treatment, a recent study published by Bauman et al in the Journal of Palliative Medicine found. Although palliative care is known...

Palliative Care

Bringing Palliative Care to Native American Patients With Cancer

Native Americans are among the most underserved minority populations in the United States and are disproportionately affected by cancer. They have the lowest survival rates for nearly all types of cancer of any minority population and much higher rates of certain types of cancer, including lung,...

Palliative Care

Study Finds Need to Improve Knowledge About Palliative Care Among U.S. Adults

The use of palliative care in hospitals in the United States has steadily risen over the past decade, with almost universal access to services in large hospitals and academic medical centers. Despite this increased access and recommendations from ASCO that all patients with advanced cancer receive...

Palliative Care

The Daughter of a Fighter Pilot Becomes a Leader in Compassionate Cancer Care

Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, FASCO, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago as the middle child of three girls. She was, by her own account, extremely shy by nature. Her mother was a graduate of the University of Chicago, but her father’s college education was preempted by his service as a fighter pilot in...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Balancing a Reverence for Life With a Belief That Patients Have a Right to a Dignified Death

The U.S. right-to-die movement took root in the mid-1970s, when Derek Humphry helped his wife, who was dying of breast cancer, take her own life. Five years later, Mr. Humphry founded the Hemlock Society, the first right-to-die organization in the United States,1 and set off a firestorm of...

Palliative Care

Machine Learning–Based Algorithm May Predict Short-Term Mortality in Patients With Cancer and Prompt Serious Illness Conversations

Although most patients with terminal cancer, 87%, have end-of-life conversations with clinicians about their goals and preferences for care, on average, these discussions happen just 1 month before death and most often occur in acute care settings with clinicians who are not their treating...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Expert Panel–Endorsed Quality Measures for End-of-Life Care for Children With Cancer

There is currently no consensus on what quality end-of-life care for children with cancer looks like, or how to measure and deliver it; however, investigators recently assembled an expert panel to help fill this void. In a study published by Emily Johnston, MD, MS, and colleagues in the journal...

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