End-of-life care may be too intense among AYA patients with advanced cancer

Posted on 08/10/2015

HemOnc Today — More than two-thirds of adolescent and young adult patients with advanced cancer receive at least one form of medically intensive care at the end of life, according to study results.

“That includes interventions like chemotherapy within the last 2 weeks of life, more than one emergency room visit in the last month of life, intensive care unit care in the last month of life, and hospitalization in the last month of life,” researcher Jennifer W. Mack, MD, MPH, co-director of the pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship program and senior physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and assistant professor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, told HemOnc Today.

Although adult patients who know they are dying usually do not want aggressive care, limited data exist with regard to adolescents and young adults (AYA).

Mack and colleagues sought to evaluate the rate of end-of-life care measures in AYA patients who died of cancer and received care within the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health system between 2001 and 2010. The study comprised 663 patients aged 15 to 39 years.

The investigators assessed end-of-life chemotherapy, hospitalizations, ED visits and ICU care.

Read more about the study and its results.