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Health promotion and public health
Early integration of palliative care in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is warranted based on symptom burden and quality of life
  1. Pradeep Yarra1,
  2. Srinadh Annangi2
  1. 1 Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  2. 2 Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pradeep Yarra, Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506, USA; pya227{at}

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Commentary on: Butler SJ, Ellerton L, Gershon AS et al. Comparison of end-of-life care in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or lung cancer: a systematic review. Palliat Med. 2020;34(8):1030–43. doi: 10.1177/0269216320929556.

Implications for practice and research

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer have similar symptom burden and poor health-related quality of life at the end of life.

  • COPD population receives less palliative care services, and medications for symptom burden, but more life-sustaining interventions than patients with lung cancer.

  • Early integration of palliative care services in chronic medical conditions like COPD may likely improve patient care, quality of life and likely decrease healthcare costs.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are two of the leading causes of death, with approximately 3.02 and 1.71 million deaths worldwide in 2016, respectively.1 Both these diseases show a similar pattern of symptom burden, specifically at the end of life, which include pain and dyspnoea. …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.