March 14, 2014

Chemotherapy May Lead To Less Peaceful Death

If you're dying of cancer, especially if you are young, you might want to forego that last bout with chemotherapy if you want a peaceful death. 

Study: Chemotherapy May Lead To Less Peaceful Death

More than half of end-stage cancer patients receive chemotherapy during the last few months of their life, and those who received such treatment were more likely to die in a hospital intensive care unit, hooked to a ventilator, rather than at home as they would have preferred, says a new study.

Patients were also less likely to have discussed their end of life wishes with their oncologist compared to other end-stage cancer patients who opted not to continue chemotherapy.

Researchers say doctors have a hard time initiating conversations with their patients, especially those dying from metastatic cancer.
“There’s a subtle dance that happens between oncologist and patient,” Dr. Alexi Wright, an assistant professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the study’s lead author, told the Boston Globe. “Where doctors don’t want to broach the subject of dying, especially in younger patients, because it makes those patients think we’re giving up on them.”
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Wright is hoping this study will make more doctors aware that patients who receive chemotherapy may get a false sense of hope and be denied a more peaceful death.
Posted by Jill Fallon at March 14, 2014 12:04 PM | Permalink