SOFA score for oncology infections
The quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score helps predict clinical outcomes in patients with cancer presenting to the ED with suspected infections. The retrospective study from Austin Health found a qSOFA score ≥2 was a strong predictor of ICU admission and mortality – more so in patients with solid tumours than haematological cancers. qSOFA ≥2 was a stronger predictor of mortality than tumour type, recent radiotherapy or site of infection. Mortality in patients with qSOFA <2 was a low 5%. The study said qSOFA scores could be used to triage patients and guide allocation of ICU beds or patient transfers to higher level support. The study was published in Asia-Pac J Clin Oncol.
Campaign to resume cancer tests
Nine Australian cancer organisations are partnering on a nationwide campaign urging Australians not to ignore new symptoms or defer cancer screening or medical appointments despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They are Bowel Cancer Australia, GI Cancer Institute, Lung Foundation Australia, Leukaemia Foundation, Lymphoma Australia, Ovarian Cancer Australia, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Rare Cancers Australia and Pink Hope. They said the community should not lose ground on early cancer detection and treatment even in the “new normal” including face masks, hand sanitisers and social distancing. Watch New Normal, Same Cancer. The campaign is sponsored by AstraZeneca.
MDM discussion for palliative care referral
There is room to improve management of end of life care for lung cancer patients. According to Australian research from a single centre in Melbourne, multidisciplinary meeting (MDM) discussion of lung cancer patient cases does not increase the rate of referral to palliative care but does reduce ICU admissions at end-of-life. It found only 73% of lung cancer cases were presented at MDM despite being acknowledged as the standard of care. Only 40% of patients were referred to palliative care overall. The study found earlier referral (≥30 days before death) correlated with less aggressive end of life care compared to patients referred within 30 days of their death. The study was published in Internal Medicine Journal