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Effect of Early Palliative Care on Quality of Life of Patients With Advanced Cancer of the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract (IPaC)

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Last updated:24th May 2013
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as an approach to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing life-threatening illness, through prevention and relief of pain and of physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems. The WHO stresses that palliative care is applicable early in the course of the illness together with other therapies that are intended to cure or prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. For the benefit of the patient, palliative care is however often given (too) late in the course of the disease of incurably ill patients. The aim of our study is to measure the effect of interventional palliative care on quality of life, mood and end-of-life care of patients with advanced cancer of the high gastrointestinal tract and their families. These patients have a limited life expectancy and a high symptom burden, this leads us to suggest that these patients may be benefited with palliative care soon after diagnosis of metastatic disease (interventional palliative care). The research design of this study is a randomized controlled trial with, on the one hand, an intervention group in which patients and their families receive interventional palliative care in combination with standard cancer care and on the other hand a control group in which patients and their families receive only standard oncologic care. Participants in the intervention group will meet the palliative support team shortly after diagnosis. Afterwards, the palliative support will meet them at least once a month. This intervention focuses on topics such illness understanding, symptom management, decision making and coping with the disease. Participants in the control group will only meet with the palliative support team at the patient's own request or after referral by the oncologist or the nursing staff.
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Study start date 2013-05-24

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