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June 19, 2001

Running Time: 00:50:08
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This year, about 550,000 people will die from cancer. At least half of them will experience a range of distressing physical and psychological symptoms, such as pain, breathing difficulties, and depression, during the course of their disease. Clinicians and hospitals too often are not prepared to handle such problems, particularly among cancer patients who are dying. With federal research and training efforts centering largely on trying to cure patients with cancer, not enough has been done to further the field of palliative care, which focuses on relieving symptoms throughout the course of disease. It is particularly important for patients who are nearing death, when symptoms are often most severe.

Kathleen M. Foley, Neurologist/Pain Specialist, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.