DUESSELDORF, Germany, April 12 (UPI) — Many patients with end-stage or terminal cancer do not benefit from spending most of their remaining life getting radiation therapy, German researchers said.
Dr. Stephan Gripp of the University Hospital Dusseldorf in Germany and colleagues said palliative radiotherapy is used to ease pain and other symptoms for end-stage cancer patients. However, for many patients, palliative radiotherapy is not effective.
Gripp and colleagues tracked 33 patients referred for palliative radiotherapy from December 2003 to July 2004 and who died within 30 days.
Radiation was delivered to 91 percent of patients and 50 percent spent more than 60 percent of their remaining lifespan on radiotherapy.
The study, published online ahead of the print edition of the journal Cancer, found many physicians overestimated how long their patients would live. In addition, complaints were noted in 52 percent of patient, and palliation or pain reduction was reported by only 26 percent of patients, the study said.
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