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“Patients’ expectations about effects of chemotherapy for advanced cancer” and editorial “Talking with patients about dying”

by jmiller on October 31, 2012

“Chemotherapy for metastatic lung or colorectal cancer can prolong life by weeks or months and may provide palliation, but it is not curative.  Overall, 69% of patients with lung cancer and 81% of those with colorectal cancer did not report understanding that chemotherapy was not at all likely to cure their cancer.  The article concludes: many patients receiving chemotherapy for incurable cancers may not understand that chemotherapy is unlikely to be curative, which could compromise their ability to make informed treatment decisions that are consonant with their preferences.  Physicians may be able to improve patients’ understanding, but this may come at the cost of patients’ satisfaction with them.”  (NEJM, Oct. 25)  Click here for full text