decades, cancer patients approaching the end of life have faced
a terrible choice: continue treatment or enter hospice. By medical
custom and Medicare constraint, patients could do one or the other,
At last, that’s changing.
Research at UC Davis Cancer Center is fueling the reform. Last year,
UC Davis researchers completed one of the first studies to examine
progressive palliative care in advanced illness. The study demonstrated
that, contrary to common wisdom, this care — focused on comfort
rather than cure — does not interfere with cancer treatment;
instead, it enhances it.
last year, the researchers received a generous grant to expand their
work. The National Cancer Institute awarded the investigators $2.5
million, among the largest grants the agency has ever given for
palliative care research. Headed by Fred Meyers, professor and chair
of internal medicine, the five-year study will examine the benefits
of combining curative and palliative care in patients at three centers:
UC Davis Cancer Center, the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
in Duarte, Calif., and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
“We hope to change the practice of oncology in the United
States,” Meyers says. “We hope to demonstrate that progressive
palliative care should be the standard of care for all cancer patients.
No one should have to choose between fighting their disease or getting
palliative care. They can receive both at once.”
Meyers calls the approach simultaneous care.
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In Translation |
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