Futile Treatment Given Some as End-of-Life Aid in Intensive Care

Some intensive-care patients receive expensive treatments that don’t prolong life while increasing pain and suffering, a study found.

About 11 percent of critical-care patients at the University of California, Los Angeles, health-care system received what researchers termed futile treatment, the majority dying within six months while still in the hospital, according to a study released today in JAMA Internal Medicine. The cost of treatment was $2.6 million over three months, researchers said. More


For many dying elderly, aggressive cancer treatment despite their wish

TAMPA — Most seniors with terminal cancer say they want to die at home or in a hospice, surrounded by loved ones, not high- tech medical heroics.

Yet a new study finds many of them spend their final days in hospital intensive care units, or leave the hospital only a few days before they die.

What’s more, researchers from the famed Dartmouth Atlas Group found, where you live may have a lot to do with what happens to you.


Gilead Sciences stops successful cancer drug study

Gilead Sciences said Wednesday it stopped a late-stage clinical trial of a cancer treatment because it was clear the drug was working.

Gilead was studying idelalisib as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The company said an early analysis of data from the study showed that patients who were treated with idelalisib had a longer time before the resumption of disease progression or death. A panel of independent monitors recommended that Gilead stop the trial. More.

Weighing Surgeries in Light of a Breast Cancer Gene

“There definitely is an ongoing sense of confusion, and women do agonize over this,” said Sue Friedman, executive director of the group Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. “There are a lot of gynecologists and oncologists who have a strong opinion for or against removing the uterus.” More.

Life, Interrupted: A Test of Faith

SULEIKA JAOUAD writes: “I still don’t pray or attend church or consider myself religious. But I have a different kind of faith now — a faith in my incredible team of doctors, in the strength of my body and in the power of scientific research.

But I’m still left with a lot of questions. Why did my good friend Anjali, who was also young and had the same disease, not respond to the treatments that saved my life? Part of the answer has to do with science. But the other part is a mystery. And even if I don’t practice a formal religion, I spend a lot of time thinking about why I’m still here.” More.

Mothers With Cancer

Children of mothers with cancer must learn this painful lesson early: the vulnerability of the figure on whom they have grounded their existence. With varying degrees of fearful awareness, such children intuit that the mother who comforts by murmuring “I am here” will not always be there.  See Mothers With Cancer  By SUSAN GUBAR @ the NY Times.