Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New score can tell doctors how long cancer patients have left to live

Date:
August 26, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
A new scoring system can more reliably predict whether patients with advanced cancer are likely to survive for "days", "weeks" or "months", a new study finds.

A new scoring system can more reliably predict whether patients with advanced cancer are likely to survive for "days," "weeks" or "months" finds a study published online in the British Medical Journal.

Related Articles


Patients with advanced cancer and their carers often wish to know how long they have left to live. This information is also important for clinicians to help them plan appropriate care. Clinician predictions of survival are the mainstay of current practice, but are unreliable, over-optimistic and subjective.

So a team of researchers, led by Dr Paddy Stone at St George's, University of London, set out to develop a scoring system for use in patients with advanced cancer in different care settings that was as good, or better, than clinicians' best predictions.

The study involved 1,018 patients with advanced incurable cancer, no longer receiving treatment, and recently referred to palliative care services across the UK.

Using a combination of clinical and laboratory variables known to predict survival, the team created two prognostic scores (PiPS-A and PiPS-B) to predict whether patients were likely to survive for "days" (0-13 days), "weeks" (14-55 days) or "months" (more than 55 days) compared with actual survival and clinicians' predictions.

Factors that could have affected the results, such as age, gender, ethnicity, diagnosis, and extent of disease, were taken into account.

Both scores were at least as accurate as a clinician's estimate. PiPS-B (which required a blood test) was significantly better than an individual doctor's or nurse's prediction, but neither scale was significantly more accurate than a multi-professional estimate of survival.

This is the first study to benchmark a prognostic scoring system against current best practice, say the authors. However, further validation work is needed before the scales can be recommended for use in routine clinical practice, they conclude.

In an accompanying editorial, Paul Glare from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York believes that prognosis "needs to be restored as a core clinical skill, to optimise the patient's treatment and planning."

He says that prognostic tools can help, but should not be applied blindly, and he points out that "communicating the prediction to the patient is as important as forecasting it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. B. Gwilliam, V. Keeley, C. Todd, M. Gittins, C. Roberts, L. Kelly, S. Barclay, P. C. Stone. Development of Prognosis in Palliative care Study (PiPS) predictor models to improve prognostication in advanced cancer: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 2011; 343 (aug25 1): d4920 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d4920
  2. P. Glare. Predicting and communicating prognosis in palliative care. BMJ, 2011; 343 (aug25 1): d5171 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d5171

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "New score can tell doctors how long cancer patients have left to live." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825193101.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, August 26). New score can tell doctors how long cancer patients have left to live. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825193101.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "New score can tell doctors how long cancer patients have left to live." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825193101.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins