Palliative Care in the New Age of Oncology Therapies

Betty R. Ferrell, PhD, RN


June 28, 2018

Heidi is a 60-year-old woman recently diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer with spinal bone metastases. Her primary care physician, Dr S, shared the initial diagnosis and the seriousness of the disease, and referred her to a medical oncologist. Dr S also referred her for palliative care consultation because Heidi is experiencing pain, dyspnea, cough, and anorexia.

Heidi is evaluated by the medical oncologist and is told that her laboratory results for mutations indicate that she is eligible to receive a new targeted oral agent. Heidi is very encouraged that a "new drug" is available and believes that this makes her prognosis much better. She also believes that this hopeful extension of her life will enable her to benefit from more new treatments and that she will eventually be cured of what she thought was terminal lung cancer. Heidi comes in today for her medical oncology visit and mentions to the nurse that she canceled her appointment for a palliative care consult "...since I'm getting treated now and won't need it."


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.