Chemo at End of Life Shows No Benefit

A study recently published in JAMA Oncology found that cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy near the end of their life did not experience an improved quality of life. In fact, researchers concluded that chemotherapy directly contributed to worsened quality of life. The lung cancer lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm detail this study below.

Researchers at the Weill Cornell Medical College reviewed end-of-life care in cancer patients and its effects of quality of life. Their results indicated a significant link between chemotherapy and decreased quality of life, even among patients who were otherwise in good health. Importantly, palliative chemotherapy – treatment designed for terminal patients to ease symptoms – did not have an impact on quality of life.

The toxic effects of chemotherapy presumably caused the decrease in life quality. In 2012, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) stated that chemotherapy in patients who will not benefit from it was one of the most widespread, unnecessary, and wasteful practices in oncology.

Patients with good performance status are more likely to receive chemotherapy near the end of their life. Researchers suggested that medical providers were inappropriately offering or agreeing to treatment to give patients a false sense of hope. They wrote that even when doctors clearly communicate the limitations of treatment and the reality of their illness, many patients still feel pressure to continue treating. They are often encouraged by friends and family to keep fighting.

In the last six months of life, however, most people would want to stay away from hospitals and toxic treatments that will not cure them. Researchers concluded their report by asking doctors to curtail the use of ineffective treatments and focus on palliative care and symptom relief.

Vulnerable Citizens often Miss Cancer Signs

One of the most important factors in the ability to cure or fully treat cancer is detecting it in its earliest stages. This is why mesothelioma is among the deadliest of cancers, as asbestos fibers take decades to lodge into the lungs and cause DNA changes, eventually morphing into mesothelioma and other cancers.

Experts believe that many populations need better education and encouragement to seek help for potential cancer symptoms.

Anyone suffering from persistent and unexplained changes in their body or health should seek medical advice as soon as they can. Symptoms that are often overlooked include unexplained weight loss, difficulty swallowing, persistent cough or hoarseness, unexplained lumps or swelling, and unexplained pain.

Women are more likely to face barriers to seeking medical help and are therefore more likely to put off going to a doctor. Single people, those with less education, and those living in poorer areas were also more reluctant to seek help. Elderly people have trouble arranging transportation to and from the doctor, as do couples who recently separated.

Experts suggest raising awareness in poorer communities and reminding the public about the benefits of early detection. Vulnerable populations need to have affordable and appropriate transportation options and must understand the potential symptoms of cancer.

Our team of lung cancer lawyers is currently accepting cases involving mesothelioma, asbestosis, and throat and lung cancers from asbestos exposure. Even lung cancer patients who previously or currently smoke may be eligible for compensation. Contact our firm immediately for a free case review, or head to our website for more information.

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