Palliative Care in Lung Cancer: When to Start

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Despite recent advances in the care of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), significant morbidity and mortality remains. Symptoms caused by the cancer and its treatments can be profoundly debilitating. Palliative care aims to reduce this burden. In this review, we discuss the definition, purpose, benefits, and optimal timing of palliative care in advanced NSCLC.

Recent Findings

Several studies evaluating the value of early palliative care for patients with advanced NSCLC and other advanced malignancies have identified benefits for patients, caregivers, and health systems.

Summary

For patients with advanced NSCLC, introduction of palliative care early in the disease course improves quality of life and even overall survival. Early institution of palliative care should become standard of care for patients with advanced NSCLC.

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Correspondence to Tracey L. Evans.

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Conflict of Interest

Prianka Bhattacharya declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Scott K. Dessain declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Tracey L. Evans has received compensation from Genentech for service on speaker’s bureaus and as a consultant.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Lung Cancer

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Bhattacharya, P., Dessain, S.K. & Evans, T.L. Palliative Care in Lung Cancer: When to Start. Curr Oncol Rep 20, 90 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11912-018-0731-9

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Keywords

  • Palliative care
  • Advanced non-small cell lung cancer
  • Palliation
  • Caregiver
  • Symptom management
  • Quality of life