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Semin Oncol. 2011 Jun;38(3):380-5. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2011.03.007.

Thinking and talking about life expectancy in incurable cancer.

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NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Most patients with incurable cancer want information about the impact cancer will have on their future, and many want specific estimates of the most likely, best case, and worst case scenarios for survival. With improved understanding of life expectancy, patients are better equipped to make appropriate treatment decisions and plans for the future. Although physicians acknowledge that patients with incurable cancer want prognostic information and benefit from this, most struggle to provide it and experience difficulty in making reliable estimates, communicating them, and tailoring the information to the individual patient. In this review we address some of the implications that arise from thinking and talking about life expectancy with people who have incurable cancer, particularly those considering first- or second-line chemotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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