Seriously ill patients with cancer value frank discussions with their physicians. Physicians themselves, however, often experience difficulties speaking with patients about a prognosis, death, goals of end-of-life treatment, abstaining from potentially life-prolonging treatment, and spirituality. Reasons physicians disregard these topics include difficulties estimating a patient’s life expectancy, fear of decreasing a patient’s hope, and confronting the eventuality of life. These reasons, among others, have resulted in an attempt to formalize and structure conversations with patients with incurable cancer.
Stouthard J, Brom L, Buiting HM. Having a Conversation With a Patient With Incurable Cancer—Just Another Protocol?. JAMA Oncol. Published online February 09, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.6776