Cancer

Updated 06 June 2016

When to give up cancer treatment – a difficult decision

Stopping aggressive cancer treatment may make a patient's last days a time for focusing on family.

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When to stop aggressive treatment is among the most wrenching decisions in cancer care. Medical guidelines say dying cancer patients shouldn't get harsh treatment, but new research suggests it happens almost all of the time.

During their last month alive, three out four cancer patients younger than 65 in the study got too-aggressive treatment. Only a handful got comfort-based hospice care instead.

The study was presented in Chicago at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

Experts say dying patients are sometimes in denial and don't understand the limitations of medical treatment. And sometimes doctors think stopping treatment means giving up hope.

But some people say stopping treatment made their loved ones' last days a time when they could focus on family — not on machines and medicines.

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AP

 

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CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst and Head of Advocacy Magdalene Seguin. For more information, visit cansa.org.za.

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