Palliative care and hospice services appeared underused among patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, according to study results presented at International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.
Among patients with stage IV disease, those who received oncologic treatment were less likely to use palliative care or hospice services than patients who received no oncologist treatment.
A study by Temel and colleagues, published in 2010 in The New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated the beneficial effects of early palliative care on survival, mood and quality of life for patients with stage IV NSCLC.
Since then, some medical systems have faced challenges trying to adopt clinical services for patients with advanced NSCLC, including palliative care and hospice resources for patients at the end of life, Joshua Rayburn, clinical research coordinator at Swedish Cancer Institute, and colleagues wrote.
Rayburn and colleagues analyzed use of palliative care and hospice resources for patients with NSCLC treated within a single large community health care system.
Researchers reviewed 406 patients diagnosed and managed for primary NSCLC between June 2013 and June 2015 in a seven-institution hospital network that provided dedicated palliative care services.
Investigators initially categorized patients based on whether they underwent oncologic treatment — either therapeutic or palliative — or no treatment. The analysis further stratified patients by clinical stage based on whether they received palliative care consultation, referral to hospice without palliative care consultation, or neither.
Slightly less than half (44.8%; n = 182) of patients included in the analysis had stage IV disease. Of this group, 30 (16%) received a palliative care consultation, 71 (39%) received a referral to hospice, and 81 (45%) received neither.
Most (n = 154) patients with stage IV disease underwent oncologic treatment. Those who did appeared significantly less likely than those who underwent no oncologic treatment to receive palliative care or hospice services (51% vs. 82%; P = .002).
The findings suggest many patients who could derive benefit from palliative care or hospice services do not receive them, Rayburn and colleagues wrote.
“Quality improvement interventions and referral triggers targeting the implementation of palliative care and hospice services early in patient management are needed to meet patients’ global oncologic needs,” researchers wrote. – by Mark Leiser
Rayburn JR, et al. Abstract PS02.04. Presented at: International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology; Sept. 14-16, 2017; Chicago.
Disclosure: HemOnc Today could not confirm the authors’ relevant financial disclosures at the time of reporting.