Harvard Men's Health Watch

Palliative care: Surprising benefits from an underused therapy

As medicine developed powerful new ways to diagnose and treat disease over the past century, cure has become the main goal of treatment. 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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