Document Detail

How radiation oncologists evaluate and incorporate life expectancy estimates into the treatment of palliative cancer patients: a survey-based study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  24074920     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
PURPOSE: We surveyed how radiation oncologists think about and incorporate a palliative cancer patient's life expectancy (LE) into their treatment recommendations.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: A 41-item survey was e-mailed to 113 radiation oncology attending physicians and residents at radiation oncology centers within the Boston area. Physicians estimated how frequently they assessed the LE of their palliative cancer patients and rated the importance of 18 factors in formulating LE estimates. For 3 common palliative case scenarios, physicians estimated LE and reported whether they had an LE threshold below which they would modify their treatment recommendation. LE estimates were considered accurate when within the 95% confidence interval of median survival estimates from an established prognostic model.
RESULTS: Among 92 respondents (81%), the majority were male (62%), from an academic practice (75%), and an attending physician (70%). Physicians reported assessing LE in 91% of their evaluations and most frequently rated performance status (92%), overall metastatic burden (90%), presence of central nervous system metastases (75%), and primary cancer site (73%) as "very important" in assessing LE. Across the 3 cases, most (88%-97%) had LE thresholds that would alter treatment recommendations. Overall, physicians' LE estimates were 22% accurate with 67% over the range predicted by the prognostic model.
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians often incorporate LE estimates into palliative cancer care and identify important prognostic factors. Most have LE thresholds that guide their treatment recommendations. However, physicians overestimated patient survival times in most cases. Future studies focused on improving LE assessment are needed.
Yolanda D Tseng; Monica S Krishnan; Adam J Sullivan; Joshua A Jones; Edward Chow; Tracy A Balboni
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics     Volume:  87     ISSN:  1879-355X     ISO Abbreviation:  Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys.     Publication Date:  2013 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-09-30     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7603616     Medline TA:  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  471-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:
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