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April 16, 2014

From JAMA’s Daily News Site

JAMA. 2014;311(15):1488. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3549

Oncologists could cut the ever-increasing cost of cancer care, in part, by improving end-of-life care, according to recent research.

The best opportunities for safe, ethical cost reductions are in caring for patients with metastatic cancer, according to investigators at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. They noted that among Medicare’s cancer patients, 60% are hospitalized in the last year of life, 30% die in a hospital, and only 54% ever use hospice care. But hospice and palliative care improve symptoms, reduce caregiver distress, and save $2700 to $6500 per person as compared with care that does not actively involve hospice.

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