Oncology patients with advanced disease frequently undergo Radiation to relieve symptoms such as pain and dyspnoea. These patients have been treated by different health professionals in multiple, complexed and long-term treatments. The goal of this study was to investigate the possibility to help and improve the quality of life of these patients.
In the present study, 32 patients participated and were evaluated prospectively. The main criteria for their participation were the following: oncology patients >18 years old with a satisfactory level of verbal communication and advance cancer receiving radiotherapy. EORTC questionnaires (QLQ-C30) and questionnaire for problems and needs for palliative care PNCP-Center for the Quality of Care of the WOK research were used.The quality of life of these patients was assessed prior the beginning of the treatment and that was taken as a quality of life baseline level as well as at the end of their treatment. The present study was conducted from June 2018 to December 2018 in the Radiotherapy Department of "Hygeia" Hospital in Greece. Of the 32 patients who were evaluated 11 were women and 21 were men. Their average age was 65 years old. Also 84,4% of these patients had external help (family, caretaker). A significant improvement in the quality of life was observed only in patients who had home help for 4 hours daily (p.value 0,006).Men seemed to improve the quality of life after treatment (p.value 0,005).The patients reported their palliative care needs in the following rating scale: financial and phychological issues, autonomy, daily activities, spiritual issues, organic symptoms and need for information ,all of which will be presented in detail. Those who have difficulty completing tasks need or depent on others and ask for professional help (p.value 0,001)Radiation therapy alleviates the organic symptoms of patients with advanced disease, but it does not cover their needs that have become more important to them than their organic symptoms. Care for these patients needs a more specialized approach which incorporates the principles of palliative care.
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The author has declared no conflicts of interest.