Researchers from Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center determined that hospice care significantly increases survival rates among patients with metastatic (or stage IV) melanoma, a difficult-to-treat form of cancer that occurs when melanoma cells have spread through the lymph nodes to other parts of the body.
The study’s authors followed 862 metastatic melanoma cancer patients. Of these, 523 patients received one to three days of hospice care, 114 patients received four or more days, and 225 people received no hospice care through their survival period. Those that received four or more days had an average survival period, which typically dates from the original diagnosis, of 10.2 months, while those that received none averaged 6.1 months. In addition, the end-of-life hospital costs for those receiving the most hospice visits were nearly half that incurred by patients not receiving hospice attention.