This project aims to develop a model to identify prospectively a point for discontinuing chemotherapy that maximizes survival using social science methods and two cohorts of patients with metastatic lung cancer. While patients with cancer and their families state that they would prefer care focused on comfort at the end of life versus aggressive treatment such as additional chemotherapy, the challenge for clinicians is to identify the beginning of the end of life and the transition point when chemotherapy stops being therapeutic and may even hasten death. This project includes both qualitative and quantitative research components.
The student will assist the fellow with interviews of medical oncologists and reviews of medical records. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are required along with an interest to learn about cancer, medical care, and treatment decision making. Some of the data collection will occur at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A trained student can perform the same medical record review as the fellow, increasing the number of patients that can be included in the project.
Through his or her work on this project, the student will learn about cancer care at the end of life and be exposed to the fields of medicine, psychiatry/psychology, oncology, and palliative care.