More evidence supporting early palliative care:Study Identifies Factors Linked to ED Visits by Cancer Patients http://t.co/jdHwJUIZ99 #hpm”— Jordi Amblàs (@jordiamblas) 3 de enero de 2015
However, a much smaller study (JS Temel NEJM 2010, Greer JA JCO 2012), of Massachusetts General Hospital, where researchers worked with a group of 151 patients in the stage IV of lung cancer, does draw a conclusion. Half of the patients followed the usual cancer treatment and the other half had an additional intervention which simply consisted in scheduling visits to a specialist palliative care. The result was that the latter group was first to leave chemotherapy, start palliative treatment and suffered less in the final moment; and the surprise of this study, at least for me, is that it showed that those patients who had started the contact with the palliative care specialist first, lived 25% longer than the control group.
As Atul Gawande, author of Being mortal, says: "If the effect of finding a clear way of talking to the patients about how to deal with the last days of life and then begin mitigation practices in accordance with the contents of the conversation, was due to a new drug, the FDA should approve it with urgency". The lesson of this study continues Dr. Gawande, is almost zen: "people live longer only when they stop attempting to live longer".