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Oncologists could improve prognosis communication: Study

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus found that accurate prognosis of incurable cancer is vital to end-of-life decision making.
The study looked at 64 doctor-patient conversations regarding cancer prognosis at four major academic medical centers and found that both patients and doctors tend to avoid end-of-life discussions regarding terminal cancer diagnosis.
"It was surprising -- at all four of these medical centers, the conversations that oncologists had with their patients tended to follow the same pattern," Dr. Sarguni Singh, oncology hospitalist at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and author of the study, said in a press release. "They would discuss symptoms, then the oncologist would reveal scan results often followed by an immediate transition to talking about the next steps for treatment. What's often missing is a discussion of what the scan results mean."