Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Lung Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Cancer Patients Live Longer With Palliative Care

Study Also Shows Palliative Care Improves Quality of Life for Advanced Lung Cancer Patients

Palliative Care May Benefit Other Diseases continued...

Fully 75% of larger hospitals in the U.S. offer palliative care services, Jackson says. "Ask providers about the availability of palliative care to help navigate your illness," she suggests. Palliative care is different than hospice care in that it is offered regardless of a person's diagnosis or illness prognosis. Palliative care can be offered in the hospital or in the clinic on an outpatient basis.

"These services are vital to the treatment of every patient with cancer because cancer symptoms cause both physical and psychological discomfort," says Mark Kris, MD, chief of thoracic oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. "This paper says that by dealing with these symptoms, people live better and longer."

This survival edge makes sense to Kris. "If people felt better in general, they are better able to tolerate their treatments and receive the full doses on time or are fit enough to try another treatment," he tells WebMD. All of these things can improve survival.

"When people feel better, they make better choices and palliative care helps them make better decisions about what is helpful and what is fruitless," he says, referring to the study finding that people who received palliative care were less likely to opt for aggressive end-of-life care.

Lack of Access to Palliative Care

Unfortunately this type of supportive care is not always available across the board, he says.

"Not every center has the luxury," Kris says. "It involves additional visits on additional days -- in additional parts of the hospital -- and there are financial aspects, too," he says.

"This is a landmark trial establishing what one might readily have guessed, which is that palliative care can improve symptoms and quality of life," says oncologist and board-certified palliative care specialist Michael J. Fisch, MD, MPH, chair of the department of general oncology in the division of cancer medicine at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The survival advantage was surprising, but "comprehensive interdisciplinary care with a focus on patients and family builds synergism and positive momentum and that could extend toward improving survival," he says.

Today on WebMD

Broken cigarette
Do you know the myths from the facts?
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Lung Cancer Risks Myths and Facts
cancer fighting foods
Improving Lung Cancer Survival Targeted Therapy
Lung Cancer Surprising Differences Between Sexes
Pets Improve Your Health
Vitamin D
Lung Cancer Surgery Options