Dr John Schorge on Palliative Care Practices in Ovarian Cancer

More attention needs to be brought to palliative care practices in ovarian cancer after a woman relapses, said John Schorge, MD, associate editor of The Green Journal, and Gynecologic Oncologist at Tufts Medical Center.


In your retrospective analysis, how were palliative care services utilized in ovarian cancer and was the utilization in line with national guidelines?

Yes, we did look at palliative care practices specifically for ovarian cancer. It is a relevant topic in that field in that even though most ovarian cancer patients will go into remission, 80% to 90% will relapse and when a woman has relapsed it is at some point a palliative care discussion.

Yet, the logistics of care in the country means that many people never hear the word hospice. If they do it’s at the very end—like the last days or hours of their life—and yet, there’s a tremendous amount of expense that goes into the last 6 or 12 months on a fairly predictable end result, specifically for ovarian cancer.

So what we were trying to do is just identify where the deficiencies were so that more attention could be brought to that and I think that more people would be thinking about that earlier.

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