Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study looking at cancer symptoms of people having end of life care (EPCCS)
This study looked at the symptoms of people with cancer who need palliative care.
More about this trial
More and more people are living longer with cancer that can’t be cured. These people need care and support to help manage the symptoms they are having. This is called palliative care.
Palliative care includes treatment of symptoms at any stage of an illness. But it can include treatment for advanced illness in people nearing the end of their lives.
We know that some people have these and other symptoms. But when this study was done we didn’t know much about how common they are.
In this study the research team sent questionnaires to people with cancer having palliative care. They also collected information about the services and treatments available at different places which offer palliative care to patients.
The aims of this study were to find out more about the symptoms of people having palliative care.
Summary of results
- 24 hospitals
- 4 hospices
- 1 nursing home
- 1 palliative home care service
- 28 had an outpatient unit
- 16 had inpatient beds
- 25 had specialist palliative care teams
- 19 had a phone number that patients could call
- 26 had easy access to other medical or cancer care services
- 21 could give chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- 12 could also give hormone therapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy
- 9 didn’t give any anti cancer treatments
- 707 people were having chemotherapy
- 172 people were having hormone therapy
- 991 people were having opioid painkillers
The people taking part were having a number of different symptoms. The patients graded each one from 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst.
The following number of people graded these issues as between 7 and 10 (out of 10), meaning they were quite bad:
|463 people||pain in the last 24 hours|
|450 people||tiredness (fatigue)|
|128 people||lack of appetite|
|68 people||feeling sick|
|26 people||shortness of breath|
- more likely to be older
- less likely to have chemotherapy
- less likely to live as long
- more tired
- less physically able
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Barry Laird
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)
European Palliative Care Research Collaborative (EPCRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Edinburgh