Identifying the palliative care needs of patients living with cerebral tumors and metastases: A retrospective analysis

Teneille E. Gofton, Jerome Graber, Alan Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Primary tumors and metastatic involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) lead to a multitude of symptoms and care needs. Patients and caregivers struggle with physical and psychological impairments, a shortened life expectancy and diverse palliative care needs. This study assesses the symptom burden and palliative care needs of patients with primary brain tumors and with metastatic brain tumors requiring inpatient hospital care. It is a retrospective analysis of patients with primary CNS tumors or cerebral metastases over a 6 month period. The data analysed included physical symptom burden and end of life care decisions such as health care proxy, transition to hospice and do-notresuscitate orders. Hundred and sixty eight patients were included. The most common symptoms were gait impairment (65.5 %), cognitive/personality change (61.9 %), motor deficits (58.3 %), seizures (57.1 %) and delirium (27.4 %). Of the patients that died, 79 % had an appointed health care proxy, 79 %had hospice discussions, 70 %had a do-not-resuscitate order and 24 % received cancer directed therapy in the last month of life. There is a role for more aggressive palliative care support in patients living with primary or metastatic brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012



  • Clinical neurology
  • End of life care
  • Metastatic tumor
  • Palliative care
  • Primary brain tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research

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