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Sep 26, 2011

Peace at the End

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: National Committee for Quality Assurance, Washington, DC.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(17):1527. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.460

My father was 76 years old and lived in Florida. He had spent his career in the army. He had been a long-time smoker and quit when he was in his late 40s. When he was 72 years old, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and had surgery. The physicians said the treatment cured him, and my father felt much better.

Four years later he had a persistent sore throat. He went to his physician, who referred him to an oncologist. He was diagnosed as having metastatic throat cancer and the physician said he had about 3 months to live. The oncologist recommended palliative chemotherapy. My father understood that it would relieve his symptoms so he would be more comfortable.

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