A recent study indicates that chemotherapy is not recommended for end-stage cancer patients, scientists have concluded after observing 312 cancer patients during their last six months of life. Results have indicated that chemotherapy had no positive effect on less sick patients, but it definitely worsened the condition of patients with fewer survival chances.
The new study was conducted by Dr. Charles Blanke from the Health and Science University in Oregon. For the research, he has benefitted of the participation of 312 cancer patients who have been said that they only have six more months to live. Based on their medical records, the majority of the patients had solid cancer tumors that have turned into metastases.
At the end of the six-month period during which the respondents have been carefully observed, scientists have concluded that chemotherapy does not have a significant impact on cancer patients. On the contrary, those patients, whose condition was better in the beginning, did not register an improvement of their health condition.
56 percent of the 122 patients with few cancer symptoms felt worse at the end of the study than they did in the beginning. Frail patients, however, felt much worse; thus, proving that chemotherapy does not improve the quality of their lives.
The research has been conducted with the help of the patients’ relatives, who have provided details in relation to the health condition of the patients when they were no longer capable of responding to questionnaires.
Doctors do not think that chemotherapy must be completely eliminated during the end-stage of cancer patients’ lives. They believe that it would be better for medical experts to consider the individual needs of each and every patient.
Scientists have, therefore, suggested physicians to provide chemotherapy only to those patients, who have a much stable health condition. Patients, whose cancer symptoms are too advanced should no longer be subjected to the poisonous chemotherapy.
However, the decision is really up to the patient and his family. Ritchie Johnson, a mother of a deceased cancer patient, declared that her son opted for chemotherapy during his final stages of life because he wanted to do anything that was in his power to prolog his life.
Dr. Lowell Schnipper from the American Society of Clinical Oncology has concluded that many patients don’t think of the quality of life, but rather of the length of their lives. For that reason, he believes chemotherapy should continue to remain a second option for end-stage cancer patients.
Image source: www.cancerresearchuk.org