Phone calls help cancer patients feel better

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When nurses reach out to their cancer patients by phone, those patients on average report higher quality of life and better mood, even if their symptoms are no better than other patients’. The finding comes from a new report published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. New Hampshire researchers tested a simple palliative care program in 161 patients with a few different types of cancer and compared them to 161 similar patients who received no palliative care intervention. As part of that program, nurses talked with patients by telephone about coping with symptoms, managing end-of-life care and, when appropriate, how to find financial counseling or other counseling care, according to USA Today. The program didn’t improve patients’ disease outcomes, but the patients did report simply living better live — and that’s worth a lot.

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