ASCO: How toTalk About End-of-Life Care with Cancer Patients

January 25, 2011

The Wall Street Journal

As few as 40% of patients with advanced cancer have a candid, realistic discussion about their prognosis with their physician soon after being diagnosed.

With an eye to improving that stat, the American Society of Clinical Oncology issued a new policy statement today on doctor-patient communication about end-of-life care, to be followed later in the year by its first clinical guidance on how to actually start this kind of discussion.

“Not all physicians are equally good at discussing” this, George Sledge, Jr., president of ASCO, tells the Health Blog, adding that these conversations are often “the hardest thing a doctor ever does.” Patients, too, aren’t necessarily willing to have such a talk, feeling like it’s equivalent to “throwing in the towel.” Read More