October 25, 2012

BUT EVERYONE KNOWS WE'RE WINNING THE WAR ON CANCER...:

Are cancer patients' hopes for chemo too high? (Reuters, October 25, 2012)

Researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that 69 per cent of patients who were terminally ill with lung cancer, and 81 per cent with fatal colorectal cancer, did not understand that their chemotherapy was not at all likely to eliminate their tumours.

"Their expectations are way out of line with reality," said lead researcher Deborah Schrag of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institution in Boston, speaking to Reuters Health.

Perhaps ironically, the patients who had the nicest things to say about their doctors' ability to communicate with them were less likely to understand the purpose of their chemotherapy than patients who had a less-favourable opinion of their communication with their physicians.

"This is not about bad doctors and it's not about unintelligent patients," said Schrag. "This is a complex communication dynamic. It's hard to talk to people and tell them we can't cure your cancer."

She added that doctors find it uncomfortable to hammer home grim news and patients don't want to believe it.

Posted by at October 25, 2012 5:26 AM
  

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