How often is immunotherapy for cancer used shortly before death? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Employing treatments like chemotherapy shortly before someone dies is not only ineffective, it can reduce quality of life and someone’s ability to interact with loved ones. Now a new study examines how often immunotherapy is utilized within a month of someone’s death. Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson at Johns Hopkins describes the findings.

Nelson: Immunotherapy comes along and there are some Lazarus stories where people seemingly in hospice care, nearing the end of their life received immunotherapy treatments that was effective enough that there's some of them that may even be cured. And they looked at more than 240,000 patients, how many had started immunotherapy within a month of dying. In one in 14 treatment courses of these agents occurred in this setting with a lot of metastatic cancer in someone who died within a month of starting treatment.  :31

Nelson says both the medical community and patients and loved ones need to be aware of such findings. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.