Palliative care use among patients with solid cancer tumors: A national cancer data base study

Osayande Osagiede, Dorin T. Colibaseanu, Aaron C. Spaulding, Ryan D. Frank, Amit Merchea, Scott R. Kelley, Ryan J. Uitti, Sikander Ailawadhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Palliative care has been increasingly recognized as an important part of cancer care but remains underutilized in patients with solid cancers. There is a current gap in knowledge regarding why palliative care is underutilized nationwide. Objective: To identify the factors associated with palliative care use among deceased patients with solid cancer tumors. Methods: Using the 2016 National Cancer Data Base, we identified deceased patients (2004-2013) with breast, colon, lung, melanoma, and prostate cancer. Data were described as percentages. Associations between palliative care use and patient, facility, and geographic characteristics were evaluated through multivariate logistic regression. Results: A total of 1 840 111 patients were analyzed; 9.6% received palliative care. Palliative care use was higher in the following patient groups: survival >24 months (17% vs 2%), male (54% vs 46%), higher Charlson-Deyo comorbidity score (16% vs 8%), treatment at designated cancer programs (74% vs 71%), lung cancer (76% vs 28%), higher grade cancer (53% vs 24%), and stage IV cancer (59% vs 13%). Patients who lived in communities with a greater percentage of high school degrees had higher odds of receiving palliative care; Central and Pacific regions of the United States had lower odds of palliative care use than the East Coast. Patients with colon, melanoma, or prostate cancer had lower odds of palliative care than patients with breast cancer, whereas those with lung cancer had higher odds. Conclusions: Palliative care use in solid cancer tumors is variable, with a preference for patients with lung cancer, younger age, known insurance status, and higher educational level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of palliative care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • National Cancer Data Base
  • Palliative care
  • Palliative care underutilization
  • Retrospective studies
  • Solid tumors. palliative care use in cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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