(HealthDay News) — Early palliative care (PC) clinic visits, integrated with standard oncologic care for patients with metastatic lung cancer, emphasize symptom management, coping, and psychosocial aspects of illness, according to research published online Jan. 28 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Noting that a randomized clinical trial demonstrated improved quality of life, mood, and survival with early PC integrated with standard oncologic care, Jaclyn Yoong, M.B.B.S., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a qualitative analysis of data from 20 patients with newly-diagnosed metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer who received early PC and survived within 24 months. The researchers aimed to identify key elements of PC clinic visits, explore the timing of these elements, and compare the content of PC and oncologic visit notes at critical time points in disease progression.

The researchers found that the most prevalent components of the PC clinic visits were addressing symptoms and coping. The initial visits focused on relationship building and understanding of the illness, including prognostic awareness. During later visits, discussions focused on resuscitation preferences and hospices. Both PC and oncologic visits included discussion of symptoms and illness status around critical time points, but the PC visits emphasized the psychosocial aspects, such as coping, while oncologic care visits centered on treatment of cancer and management of medical complications.

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“Further research is needed not only to determine the generalizability of the benefits of early integrated PC but also to identify the components of the intervention that might be most effective,” the authors write.

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