Palliative care may reduce suicide risk in veterans with lung cancer
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IMAGE: This is Donald Sullivan, M.D., M.A., M.C.R., assistant professor of medicine (pulmonary and critical care medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine. and core investigator at the Center to Improve… view more 

Credit: OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff

Results from a large-scale patient population study, recently published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, reveal palliative care is associated with a reduced risk of suicide in veterans diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. The findings were based on a study of more than 20,000 lung cancer patients enrolled in a cancer patient registry from the VA Central Cancer Registry.

Donald Sullivan, M.D., M.A, M.C.R., an assistant professor of medicine (pulmonary and critical care medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine and core investigator at the Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care at the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, was the paper’s lead author. He says the goal of the study was to see whether palliative care, which aims to relieve physical pain and discomfort and to address psychological issues like anxiety that diminish quality of life for those with life-threatening illnesses, reduced suicide rates among veterans with stage IIIB and IV lung cancer.

Of the 20,900 patients with

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