Recent studies have linked animal protein to cancer and diabetes, making small breakthroughs in finding out the causes of cancer, but when it comes to the treatment of cancer in its final stages, there is not much doctors can do. Palliative chemotherapy is a chemo treatment for patients with terminal cancer – it is intended to ease the symptoms and prolong survival, not cure the disease. A new study conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School, the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute and the Weill Cornell Medical College have found some negative aspects of palliative chemotherapy which need to be addressed, fast.
The study was published in the medical journal BMJ and it shows that there is a huge discrepancy between what a cancer patient wants and what they actually get through palliative chemotherapy. The team of researchers found that patients with terminal cancer who received palliative chemotherapy during their last months or days, were more likely to experience invasive medical procedures (such as mechanical ventilation) and less likely to die where they wished to (at home in their beds).
Negative Aspects of Palliative Chemotherapy
The study allowed researchers to assess information from almost 400 patients, it lasted for 6 years and it followed terminal cancer patients and patient care. The main focus was the quality of life of the patients during their final weeks, from a medical and sociological standpoint.
One of the negative aspects of palliative chemotherapy was that it forced people to stay in hospitals during their final days. 68% of people who were given palliative chemotherapy died where they had wanted as opposed to 80% who didn’t receive the therapy. 11% of them died in an Intensive Care Unit, as opposed to 2% who didn’t receive the palliative chemotherapy.
Until this study, there hasn’t been evidence of the negative effects of palliative chemotherapy, but now the researchers hope that things will change in the terminal cancer care.
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