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Nursing Home Residents Lack Cancer Care Services

Cancer services for nursing home residents are scarce, according to a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.

The study evaluated 1,907 nursing home patients on Medicaid that were diagnosed with cancer, according to data from the Michigan Tumor Registry and Medicaid.

Researchers found that 62 percent of cancer patients in nursing homes were diagnosed with a later stage, or unstaged, cancer. Nearly half did not survive past three months, according to the study.

Residents of the nursing homes that had end stages of cancer only received hospice care 28 percent of the time, according to the study.

"At present nursing homes may be unequipped to recognize and care for their residents with cancer," said the authors of the study.

The study was published in the online Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Address: Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, 401 College Street, P.O. Box 980037, Richmond, VA 23298; (804) 828-0450,

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Source: hospice letter, January 2008

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