Chemotherapy Can do More Harm Than Good
December 02, 2008
Doctors have been urged to be more cautious in offering cancer treatment to terminally-ill patients as chemotherapy can often do more harm than good, a study suggests.
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) found that more than four in ten patients who received chemotherapy towards the end of life suffered potentially fatal effects from the drugs, and treatment was “inappropriate” in nearly a fifth of cases.
In a study of more than 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of receiving treatment, chemotherapy probably caused or hastened death in 27 percent of cases, the inquiry found.
In only 35 percent of these cases was care judged to have been good by the inquiry’s advisors, with 49 percent having room for improvement and 8 per cent receiving less than satisfactory care.