A new mobile app developed by scientists at St George's University of London can predict, sometimes better than clinician, how long terminal cancer patients have left to live.
The research uses blood tests, pulse rate and symptoms to estimate life expectancy of patients. Camapigners hope it will help families and carers to make plans for the care and treatment of patients close to the end of their lives.
It could help predict accurately whether a patient has only two weeks or two months left to live, independently of a doctor's estimate.
One of the scales they developed doesn't require a blood test, but the other version, which does use a blood test, is believed to be better than a clinician's prognosis.
"These scales can provide valuable information for patients, carers and health professionals. It is important to remember that these results do not provide a definitive model for predicting how long someone will live, but it will give everyone concerned a clearer idea of what it is likely to happen," The Scotsman quoted Dr Paddy Stone as saying.
"This study provides a solid starting point for improving accuracy in survival predictions, which can continue to be refined and improved."
The new system is being presented today at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool.