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Cancer Patients Benefit From New Lifespan Predictor

A new scoring system will predict more whether patients with advanced cancers are now likely to survive for days, weeks or months.

According to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, cancer is treatable and millions survive a cancer diagnosis as a result of improvements in medical care and medicines.  The new study that was published online in the British Medical Journal found that patients with advanced cancer often wish to know how long they have left to live. 

The information is also important for clinicians, the study authors pointed out.  The ability to know a more certain date can help them plan appropriate care. Clinician predictions of survival are the mainstay of current practice, but are unreliable, over-optimistic and subjective.

The researchers at St George’s, University of London set out to develop a scoring system for use in patients with advanced cancer in different care settings that was as good, or better, than clinicians’ best predictions.

The study involved over one thousand patients with advanced incurable cancer who were no longer receiving treatment.  These individuals had been recently referred to palliative care services.

Using a combination of clinical and laboratory variables known to predict survival, the team created two prognostic scores to predict whether patients were likely to survive for 0-13 days, 14-55 days or more than 55 days.  They would compare with actual survival and clinicians’ predictions.

The scientists took into account external factors that could have affected the results, such as age, gender, ethnicity, diagnosis, and extent of disease.   According to medical experts, this is the first study to benchmark a prognostic scoring system against current best practice.

There were 1.5 million new cancer diagnosis  in the United States according to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks health news related to cancer and heart disease. 

Individuals interested in receiving a cost quote for critical illness insurance from a designated American Association for Critical Illness Insurance professional can complete the organization’s free quote request form accessible at or by calling the Association’s offices.

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