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Background

Advanced cancer seriously affects the quality of life of patients. Open and respectful communication about end of life care wishes is important to these patients. However, discussing these wishes is hard for healthcare professionals as well as patients and relatives. Advance care planning may support patients in making make their wishes known and followed.

In ACTION, we study the effect of advance care planning in patients with end stage cancer. Advance care planning is a formalised process of communication between patients, relatives and professional caregivers. It enables patients to timely express views, values and treatment choices about their future care.

At least 20 hospitals in 6 countries will participate in ACTION. We plan to include 1334 patients with advanced lung or colorectal cancer. The patients will receive either ACP or ‘care as usual’. We will compare the self-reported quality of life and other relevant outcomes of these two groups.

ACTION started in December 2013 and will continue until the end of 2018.