Study finds palliative care extends life

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that patients with terminal lung cancer who received palliative care upon diagnosis reported being less depressed, less pain, and lived longer than those receiving standard care only.

Patients in the study were randomly assigned to receive standard medical care only, or a combination of standard care and palliative care.  In addition to living an average of three months longer, the palliative care group also selected less aggressive treatments and were more likely to leave orders to not be resuscitated.

(Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, http://www.nejm.org, August 19, 2010; The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com, August 18, 2010)