A recent study shows positive advantages in people who cares for patients with incurable cancer. The study was presented on Wednesday, as part of a meeting to give information about the researchers. The study will be presented at the next annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Palliative care is a term that refers to medical treatments that improves quality of life in patients who suffer from an incurable illness, such as cancer. It is a medical approach that relieves pain and provides relief while there is no cure, or when a disease is at the end-stage. This treatment does not deal with the illness itself but with the symptoms of it.
Previous studies showed definite proof on how this kind of treatment improves quality of life in patients who have been diagnosed with incurable diseases. Nevertheless, the benefits on those who provide care for the ill have not been measured. A group of oncologists, led by Areej El-Jawhr, a oncologist at Boston’s Massachusetts Cancer Center and General Hospital, presented a randomized trial where it is exposed the positive impacts of early palliative care on caregivers.
On one hand, the study confirmed the benefits on those who have recently been diagnosed with cancer and receive palliative care and on the other hand, it demonstrated that caregivers also benefit from this treatment.
The outcomes of the trial were presented at a media briefing from the hands of researchers, Which will be presented next June in Chicago, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Palliative care should be a time of shared care, where treatment and symptom control go side by side. https://t.co/fcVfgXwtvp
— The Conversation (@ConversationEDU) May 19, 2016
The study shows a positive outcome
The purpose of the study was to make a comparison between standard oncology care and standard oncology care with early palliative care, with the aim of establishing which one provides quality of life for both: patient and caregiver. Researchers used questionnaires to measure quality of life, mood, coping and awareness of the illness on patients and caregivers.
Newly-diagnosed patients with incurable lung and gastrointestinal cancers and their 275 family caregivers were evaluated. These 275 family caregivers were relatives or friend who could attend to clinic visits with the patient. Researchers met three times with caregivers; the first one was at the beginning of the study and the, at the 12 and 24 weeks, respectively.
— Get Palliative Care (@GetPalliative) May 20, 2016
From weeks 12 up to 24, researchers have used the Medical Outcomes Study Health Survey Short Form-36 to evaluate quality of life and mood was examined based on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
The study revealed that early involvement in palliative care of patients with newly diagnosed lung and gastrointestinal cancers will improve quality of life and mental conditions for family caregivers. It was also demonstrated that the early integration of palliative care treatment in oncology care will provide positive outcomes in patients and family caregivers will experience improvements in their emotional health.