As medicine developed powerful new ways to diagnose and treat
disease over the past century, cure has become the main goal of
As doctors and patients focus on cure, however, both groups risk
losing sight of comfort, sometimes even assuming that cure and
comfort are antithetical. In some cases, the result is needless
suffering, which may be compounded by aggressive treatments that
have little prospect of success.
It doesn't have to be that way — and a recent study from a
Harvard teaching hospital shows that palliative care may provide
substantial benefits in addition to comfort.
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