Seniors’ misconceptions about advanced cancer may reduce use of hospice services: study

Older adults with advanced cancer often misjudge the time they have left to live. This may increase their chances for unnecessary hospitalizations and likelihood to neglect hospice care, investigators say.

Oncologists may often share the same optimism as their patients, the study also found. Fully 22% of these specialists who participated in the study thought that a cure may be possible, even though patients in the study were required to have incurable disease.

Study subjects included a cohort of 541 patients with a mean age of 76. Approximately 60% of doctor-patient pairs had different beliefs about curability and 72 percent had misunderstandings about life expectancy.

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