Historically oncologists have been criticized by the rest of the medical community and by cancer advocacy groups for not “coming clean” with cancer patients whose disease progressed to the point where survival would be short, regardless of what was done.
A recent analysis by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the leading organization to which oncologists belong, revealed that fewer than 40% of cancer patients reported having a candid discussion with their oncologist as their end of life approached. Only 45% of patients dying of cancer were enrolled in hospice programs, and of that group fully a third did not join hospice until they were in the last week of life. Up to a third of patients dying of cancer had chemotherapy in the last month of life, when it was likely to do no good.
+Read more about end of life issues and Dr. Stark’s comments at the BS757 blog.