STAT

Doctors want to give their cancer patients every chance. But are they pushing off hard talks too long?

Experts say doctors who counsel immunotherapy and hold onto hopes for remission are postponing conversations about palliative care and end-of-life wishes.

A new generation of immune-boosting therapies has been hailed as nothing short of revolutionary, shrinking tumors and extending lives. When late-stage cancer patients run out of other options, some doctors are increasingly nudging them to give immunotherapy a try.

But that advice is now coming with unintended consequences. Doctors who counsel immunotherapy, experts say, are postponing conversations about palliative care and end-of-life wishes with their patients — sometimes, until it’s too late.

“In the oncology community, there’s this concept of ‘no one should die without a dose of immunotherapy,’” said Dr. Eric Roeland, an oncologist and palliative care specialist at University of California, San Diego. “And it’s almost in lieu of having discussions about advance-care planning, so they’re kicking the can down the street.”

and oncology teams have long been wary of each another. For many oncologists, palliative care teams are the specialists to

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