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Hospice care does not shorten life: study

About half of terminally ill cancer patients die within 70 days of diagnosis and just 18 percent survive six months, a group of researchers found Tuesday.

Hospices provide compassionate care for people in the last phases of an incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible instead of undergoing excessive treatments and therapies. But opting for hospice care does not lead to a shorter life span either, revealed a team led by Dr. Yoon Young-ho of the National Cancer Center on Monday.

According to a cohort study tracing the lives of 481 terminally ill cancer patients at 11 general hospitals nationwide, the team found that the patients’ learning of their fatal condition does not affect their survival rate.

The team also found that receiving hospice care, which helps patients overcome the fear of death through religious activities, meditation, sports, hobbies and others does no harm to the patients, which reverses the notion that cessation of medical treatment could induce quicker death.

“On the contrary, it enhances the quality of life, which poses positive effect on patients. The study will better public’s understanding of hospice treatments,” Yoon said.

The finding was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology’s June edition.

(baejisook@heraldcorp.com)1">baejisook@heraldcorp.com)1
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