Compromising Between Quantity and Quality of Life
It is increasingly difficult for the physician to define appropriate cancer care in terms both of medical and the patient’s personal goals. Forty years ago, decision-making in cancer management was relatively straightforward because options were few. Today, doctors often face difficult choices particularly in advanced cancer. At one extreme, there is the frantic approach using multiple types of anti-tumour therapy and aggressive life support systems in an effort to ‘do something’ (although there is often confusion between what can be done and what should be done). At the other extreme, there is a ‘nothing further can be done’ approach in which there is semantic confusion between being able to do nothing further to control the tumour and being able to do nothing further for the patient.
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