Objective There are limited data regarding the end-of-life care for women with gynecologic malignancies. We set out to generate pilot data describing the care that women with gynecologic malignancies received in the last 6 months of life. Patient demographics, patterns of care, and utilization of palliative medicine consultation services were evaluated.
Methods One hundred patients who died of gynecologic malignancies were identified in our institutional database. Only patients who had received treatment with a gynecologic oncologist within 1 year of death were included. Medical records were reviewed for relevant information. Data were abstracted from the electronic medical record, and analyses were made using Student t test and Mann-Whitney U test with SPSS software.
Results The mean age of patients was 60 years (range, 30–94 years). Racial/ethnic distribution was as follows: 38%, white; 34%, black; and 15%, Hispanic. Seventy-five percent of patients received chemotherapy within the last 6 months of life, and 30% received chemotherapy within the last 6 weeks of life. The median number of days hospitalized during the last 6 months of life was 24 (range, 0–183 days). During the last 6 months of life, 19% were admitted to the intensive care unit, 17% were intubated, 5% had terminal extubation, and 13% had cardiopulmonary resuscitative efforts. Sixty-four percent had a family meeting, 50% utilized hospice care, and 49% had palliative medicine consultations. There was a significant difference in hospice utilization when comparison was made between patients who had 14 days or more from consultation until death versus patients who had 14 days or less or no consultation, 21 (72%) versus 29 (41%), P = 0.004. Patients who were single were less likely to have a palliative medicine consultation, P = 0.005.
Conclusions End-of-life care for patients with gynecologic malignancies often includes futile, aggressive treatments and invasive procedures. It is unknown whether these measures contribute to longevity or quality of life. These pilot data suggest that factors for implementation of timely hospice referral, family support, and legacy building should include specialists trained in palliative medicine.
- Palliative medicine
- Gynecologic malignancies
- Quality of life
- Death and dying
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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.