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November 15, 2000

Preferences of Patients With Advanced Cancer for Hospice Care

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(19):2449. doi:10.1001/jama.284.19.2447

To the Editor: Patients with metastatic cancer have been found to overestimate their survival, which may lead them to choose aggressive therapy rather than palliative care.1,2 This has been attributed to unrealistic expectations created by physicians3 and poor patient-physician communication.4 Many patients also enter hospice care very late in the course of their illness, and such late referrals generally reflect decisions made by physicians and not by patients.5 To determine how patients with advanced cancer make choices about palliative care, we surveyed patients whose oncologists had recently recommended palliative care.

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