March 14, 2014
Many American cancer patients in the final stage of life end up receiving Hospice care. But a new study reveals not all of them are benefiting.
Hospice care sometimes takes over, treating the symptoms as opposed to the illness. But doctors say at some point it's too late for patients to benefit from Hospice.
Part of the problem is new cancer drugs offer false hope for survival and some oncologists overestimate a patient's prognosis. Experts say doctors need to do a better job preparing families for the inevitable.
"Continuing with treatment is sometimes a form of denial, a way of not dealing with the issues around mortality and end of life," states Dr. Craig Earle of the Harvard Medical School.
Doctor Earle says improving the quality of a patient's life, not necessarily the length, is what doctors need to focus on.