Early Integrated Supportive Care Study for Gastrointestinal Cancer Patients

Official Title

Early Integrated Supportive Care Study for Gastrointestinal Cancer Patients


Currently at the BC Cancer Agency, oncologists decide when to refer a patient to the Pain and Symptom Management/Palliative Care (PSMPC) team, and their decisions are made subjectively and without standard guidelines/symptom assessment tools. Patients are often referred late in their treatment. The PSMPC team sees patients in their own clinic, separately from the oncologists, and do not often collaborate in a patient's care. Early integration of palliative care into oncological care has been shown to improve quality of life and to prolong survival, as well as to reduce inappropriately aggressive oncological care at end of life, and reduce costs of care. We will test an early oncology-integrated palliative care model, with the aims of determining whether 1) the introduction of PSMPC support at the time of diagnosis leads to better symptom management and quality of life of patients, 2) early integration of palliative care into medical oncology care reduces aggressiveness of cancer treatment near end of life, and 3) a fully integrated service delivery model is sustainable.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Total symptom distress score
Secondary Outcome:
  • Use of health services
  • Aggressiveness of cancer treatment
  • Details of death (survival time from first oncology appointment at BC Cancer location of death (home, hospice, Cancer Centre)
Gastrointestinal (GI) medical oncologists will be assigned to intervention or control groups, according to whether or not they have clinics scheduled on 2 specific half days each week, to coincide with PSMPC clinics. New patients attending the specified clinics under each oncologist will be automatically fall under whichever group their oncologist has been assigned. Control patients will be those seen at clinics other than the 2 specified intervention clinics. Patients will be approached for study participation in the waiting room of the GI clinic as they await their first oncology appointment. Those who agree to participate will be asked to complete a symptom assessment questionnaire at baseline and once a month for 4 months. This timing is meant to coincide with their regularly scheduled follow up appointments with the GI oncologist. Symptom scores from the completed assessment forms will be entered into a study database, created with the BC Cancer Agency IDs of the study participants alongside an anonymized study ID.

View this trial on ClinicalTrials.gov

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Canadian Cancer Society

These resources are provided in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society