November 16, 2020 | STAT

A nudge helps doctors bring up end-of-life issues with their dying cancer patients

By Ravi Parikh, Christopher Manz, and Mitesh Patel for STAT

Imagine this scenario, one that’s not uncommon for people diagnosed with incurable cancer: You and your cancer doctor decide that you should try chemotherapy to prolong your life. Six months later, that chemotherapy and several other treatments not only haven’t slowed the cancer but have caused burdensome side effects — some so bad you needed to be hospitalized.

Finally, at this point, the doctor asks, “What matters most if you were at the end of your life?”

Would having that conversation about your end-of-life wishes earlier have helped you make the most of your last days? And if your doctor had believed you may not survive past six months, would you have wanted to know?

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