Medicare data show average spending on patients with advanced lung, colorectal, pancreas, breast and prostate cancers varied by up to 41% across U.S. regions but had no direct effect on survival, researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study should be analyzed to see whether patients had access to palliative and hospice care, said American Cancer Society Vice President Elizabeth Ward. "Palliative care can apply throughout the entire course of the disease," Ward said. "When patients have reached the point when the physicians say that there is no treatment available, then there is a range of options for them."

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