NSCLC: palliative care referral uncommon for advanced disease

  • Clin Lung Cancer

  • von Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • Fewer than 20% of oncologists from a nationwide directory prescribed early palliative care (PC) for their advanced NSCLC patients.
  • The study also surveyed advanced NSCLC patients treated at a single center, 94% of whom received no PC referral.

Why this matters

  • Based on a landmark study that found early PC improved QoL and prolonged survival, early integration of PC for advanced NSCLC patients was added to treatment guidelines.

Study design

  • Survey of 93 oncologists from the 2015 IASLC membership directory and 100 patients with advanced NSCLC.
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • 83% of oncologists said evidence supports early PC, but 40% said their clinical experience only supported a QoL benefit.
  • 58% said most or all metastatic patients should be referred for early PC, but only about 19% make referrals at time of diagnosis.
  • 94% of patients reported no PC referral and 64% had never heard of PC.
  • Among oncologists who referred

Limitations

  • Most oncologists were at large academic centers.