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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the Board responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Support for this project was provided by the National Cancer Institute; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the American Cancer Society; American Society of Clinical Oncology; Abbott Laboratories; Amgen, Inc.; and Aventis. The views presented in this report are those of the Institute of Medicine and Commission on Life Sciences National Cancer Policy Board and are not necessarily those of the funding agencies.
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Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
The serpent has been a symbol of long life, healing, and knowledge among almost all cultures and religions since the beginning of recorded history. The serpent adopted as a logotype by the Institute of Medicine is a relief carving from ancient Greece, now held by the Staatliche Museen in Berlin.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
NATIONAL CANCER POLICY BOARD
Arnold J. Levine (Chair), President, The Rockefeller University, New York
Joseph Simone (Vice Chair), Medical Director, Huntsman Cancer Foundation and Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Ellen Stovall (Vice Chair), Executive Director, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, Silver Spring, MD
Diana Petitti (Vice Chair), Director, Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, Pasadena
Tim Byers, Professor of Epidemiology and Program Leader, Clinical Cancer Prevention and Control, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver
Vivien W. Chen, Epidemiology Section Chief and Professor, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans
Susan Curry, Professor of Health Policy and Administration and Director, Health Research and Policy Centers, University of Illinois at Chicago
Norman Daniels, Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University, Boston (member through April 2001)
Kathleen Foley, Director, Project on Death in America, The Open Society, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York (member through April 2001)
Thomas Kelly, Professor and Chairman, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore (member through April 2001)
Mark McClellan, Assistant Professor of Economics, Stanford University (member through March 2001)
William McGuire, Chief Executive Officer, UnitedHealth Group, Minnetonka, MN
John Mendelsohn, President, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
Monica Morrow, Professor of Surgery and Director, Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Program, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago
Nancy Mueller, Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston
Pilar Ossorio, Assistant Professor of Law and Medical Ethics, and Associate Director for Programming, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in Medicine, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison
Cecil B. Pickett, Executive Vice President for Discovery Research, Schering-Plough Research Institute, Kenilworth, NJ
John Seffrin, Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta
Sandra Millon Underwood, ACS Oncology Nursing Professor, University of Wisconsin School of Nursing, Milwaukee
Frances Visco, President, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Washington, D.C. (member through April 2001)
Susan Weiner, President, The Children's Cause, Silver Spring, MD
Hellen Gelband, Study Director
Florence Poillon, Editor
Robert Cook-Deegan, Director, National Cancer Policy Board (through August 2000)
Roger Herdman, Director, National Cancer Policy Board (from September 2000)
Ellen Johnson, Administrator (through July 2000)
Nicci T. Dowd, Administrator (from August 2000)
Jennifer Cangco, Financial Associate
BACKGROUND PAPER AUTHORS
This summary and the recommendations presented in this report are based on the work of the experts listed below. The background papers they wrote comprise Part 2 of the full report, which is available from the National Academy Press. 1 (Chapter titles are listed on pages 4-5 of this report.)
Lisa Chertkov, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Charles S. Cleeland, Ph.D., University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
David R. Freyer, D.O., DeVos Children's Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI
Sarah Friebert, M.D., Case Western Reserve University, St. Vincent's Mercy Children's Hospital, Hospice of the Western Reserve
Joanne M. Hilden, M.D., The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Bruce P. Himelstein, M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Jimmie C. Holland, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Javier R. Kane, M.D., University of Texas Health Science Center, Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, Christus Santa Rosa Hospice
Aaron S. Kesselheim, University of Pennsylvania
Joanne Lynn, M.D., RAND Center to Improve Care of the Dying
Ann O'Mara, R.N., Ph.D., Bethesda, MD
Richard Payne, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Joan M. Teno, M.D., M.S., Brown University School of Medicine and Department of Community Health
1 Improving Palliative Care for Cancer, Kathleen M. Foley and Hellen Gelband, eds., Institute of Medicine. 2001. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Susan Dale Block, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Eduardo Bruera, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
LaVera M. Crawley, Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics
Betty R. Ferrell, City of Hope National Medical Center
Priscilla Kissick, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Joseph S. Pagano, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Thomas Smith, Medical College of Virginia
T. Declan Walsh, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
George Wetherill, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its
release. The review of this report was overseen by Harold Sox of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, appointed by the NRC's Report Review Committee, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the National Cancer Policy Board, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
It is innately human to comfort and provide care to those suffering from cancer, particularly those close to death. Yet what seems self-evident at an individual, personal level has, by and large, not guided policy at the level of institutions in this country. There is no argument that palliative care should be integrated into cancer care from diagnosis to death. But significant barriers—attitudinal, behavioral, economic, educational, and legal—still limit access to care for a large proportion of those dying from cancer, and in spite of tremendous scientific opportunities for medical progress against all the major symptoms associated with cancer and cancer death, public research institutions have not responded. In accepting a single-minded focus on research toward cure, we have inadvertently devalued the critical need to care for and support patients with advanced disease, and their families.
This report builds on and takes forward an agenda set out by the 1997 IOM report Approaching Death: Improving Care at the End of Life, which came at a time when leaders in palliative care and related fields had already begun to air issues surrounding care of the dying. That report identified significant gaps in knowledge about care at the end of life and the need for serious attention from biomedical, social science, and health services researchers. Most importantly, it recognized that the impediments to good care could be identified and potentially remedied. The report itself catalyzed further public involvement in specific initiatives—mostly pilot and demonstration projects and programs funded by the nonprofit foundation community, which are now coming to fruition.
There are no villains in this piece but ourselves and our culture. Public institutions and policymakers reflect dominant societal values that still deny dying and death. Although it does occur, change to improve care of the suffering and dying is slow and conflicted with the tension between cure and care. This report encourages continued innovation and collaboration of foundations and others, but focuses on ways in which the government can embrace opportunities to improve existing palliative care, make access to it equitable for all, and help realize better palliative interventions by making research funds more available.
It is a truism that death—not just our own—affects all of us, even if it is a topic most people do not want to contemplate for long. Death is inevitable, but severe suffering is not. Willpower and determination will be required, but it is time to move our public institutions toward policies that emphasize the importance of improving palliative care for those who want and need it. This report identifies the special needs of cancer patients and the importance of the clinical and research establishment involved in cancer care to take a leadership role in modeling the best quality care from diagnosis to death for all Americans.
Kathleen M. Foley, M.D.
Director, Project on Death in America, The Open Society
TABLES AND BOXES