Cancer Care Decisions at End of Life

Photo of a nurse having a consultation with an elderly couple.

In the United States, more than 500,000 people die every year from cancer. Most will face difficult decisions about treatments at the end of life. Many of the decisions that patients with advanced cancer face relate to the use (or non-use) of aggressive treatments. Focusing on aggressive treatment comes at a financial and personal cost and may limit the use of hospice and palliative care that emphasize quality over length of life. End-of-life cancer treatment decisions are not easy for patients, their loved ones, and their healthcare providers.

In this study, investigators are examining the factors that influence cancer treatment decisions for patients with advanced cancer. Unlike prior studies that have included only the patient and oncologist, this study includes the perspectives of patients, their oncologists, nurses, and caregivers. As a result,  a fuller understanding of the various factors that influence treatment decisions for patients with advanced cancer will be achieved. Information gained from this study will guide researchers and clinicians to develop and test ways to provide tailored treatment decision discussions that are most meaningful to patients and their caregivers.

This study is funded by National Institutes of Health, RO1-NR014856 (Mapping Complex Influences on Aggressiveness of End of Life Cancer Care)