Surgeons Require Additional Palliative Care Education

Healio (09/11/2018) Southall, Jennifer

A study published in Surgery suggests that physicians who do not undergo palliative care training appeared more prone to advising major surgical interventions for patients with advanced cancer. Researchers surveyed more than 100 surgeons and medical physicians who treat patients with late-stage cancerous tumors. Survey respondents with no palliative care training called for major operative interventions considerably more frequently compared with participants who had completed 40 hours or more of palliative care training. One in five of the surgeons said they had no training in palliative care.

According to the researchers, "These findings highlight the need for greater efforts systemwide in palliative care education among surgeons, including incorporation of a structured palliative care training curriculum in graduate and continuing surgical education." In an interview, study co-author Richard Bold, MD — chief of surgical oncology at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center — observed: "All medical oncologists and medical intensivists had at least some training, including during residency and fellowships, as well as through CME. This gap in education among surgeons starts in residency but, unfortunately, it persists throughout their career."

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