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Invited Commentary |

Palliative Care: An Approach for All Internists:  Comment on “Early Palliative Care in Advanced Lung Cancer: A Qualitative Study”

Alexander K. Smith, MD, MS, MPH
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(4):291-292. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1888.
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In 2010, Temel and colleagues1 published what many believe is the most influential article in palliative care (PC) since the 1995 publication of the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatment (SUPPORT).2 Temel and colleagues randomized 151 patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital with metastatic non–small cell lung cancer to receive early outpatient PC or standard care. Patients randomized to PC had significant improvement in quality of life and lower rates of depressive symptoms compared with those who received standard care. These findings confirmed the benefits that many clinicians suspected from anecdotal experience. What shocked many was the finding that despite receiving less aggressive end-of-life care, patients randomized to PC had a longer median survival than patients in the standard care group.

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