End of Life Chemotherapy Guidance

Taking several other factors into account, chemotherapy toward the end of life may not be the best solution for many incurable patients. These factors include:

• Chemotherapy may have negative side effects, compromising the patients’ sense of well-being

• People in hospice not receiving chemotherapy live longer

• Chemotherapy prevents patients from going into hospice

• One in three families is bankrupted by serious illness

• Patients receiving chemotherapy are likely to miss opportunities for spiritual growth, quality family time, travel, financial transitions and to pass on a “life review” for future generations.

From the Journal of the American Medical Association
The authors, Thomas J. Smith, M.D., and Sarah E. Harrington, M.D., serve respectively as medical director and attending physician of Massey Cancer Center’s Thomas Palliative Care Program. In this study they explore why and how medical professionals should consider administering less chemotherapy at the end of life.

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