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Terminal cancer guide published

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Terminally ill cancer patients will be given a better idea of how long they have left to live through the use of a newly published guide which has been funded by Cancer Research UK.

Users will be able to make a prediction as accurate as a doctor’s estimate on how long they have left, based on blood tests, white cell blood count, pulse rate and symptoms experienced by the patient.

It is hoped that the guide will help families and medical staff in the planning of patients’ end of life care programmes.

Dr Paddy Stone, lead study author based at St George’s, University of London, said: “It is important to remember that these results do not provide a definitive model for predicting how long someone will live, but it will give everyone concerned a clearer idea of what is likely to happen.

“This study provides a solid starting point for improving accuracy in survival predictions which can continue to be refined and improved.”

Mike Hobday, head of campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This scale could prove useful to patients, families and clinicians who are wondering whether to begin discussions around palliative care arrangements.”

The guide is being presented today (Tuesday) at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool.

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