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March 14, 2019

Discussing Prognosis, Preferences, and End-of-Life Care in Advanced Cancer: We Need to Speak

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW, Australia
  • 2Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord NSW, Australia
  • 3Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, Campbelltown NSW, Australia
  • 4Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Camperdown NSW, Australia
JAMA Oncol. 2019;5(6):788-789. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.0291

Conversations about prognosis, priorities, and end-of-life care are stressful, difficult, and vitally important for those affected by advanced cancer.1 These conversations typically occur in the last month of life, in acute care settings, and with physicians outside the patient’s previous health care team.2 Poor communication about these issues is associated with greater suffering and exposure to unpleasant, futile treatments.3 Peak professional organizations and consensus groups recommend making these conversations part of routine oncological care.4,5