At End of Life, Aggressive Cancer Treatment Often Eclipses Recommended Palliative Care

According to the findings of a study presented last month at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), aggressive, nonbeneficial treatment continues to be provided to a significant number of patients with cancer, during their last 30 days of life.  Aggressive care was defined in this study as chemotherapy, radiation, invasive procedures, emergency department visits/hospitalization, intensive care and/or in-hospital death.  These findings come despite ASCO recommendations in the 2012 Choosing Wisely campaign against cancer-directed therapy for cancers that would not benefit in an effort to balance costs and prevent unnecessary harm.  The 2012 campaign also encouraged the use of symptom-directed palliative care, however an increase in palliative care was not seen in this study.

Cure (6/2016)

Stat article (6/2016)

Choosing Wisely (4/2012)