Too Much Optimism May Harm Cancer Patients

January 31, 2011

Lynn Schuchter, MD, chief of the division of Hematology/Oncology in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in an story about a new study revealing that cancer participants who participate in Phase I trials may have "unrealistic optimism" about the possibility that the study will help them. Schuchter said she worries that some patients with that outlook won't opt for hospice care -- and a better quality of life in their final months or weeks -- because they haven't admitted to themselves that they won't get better. Still, she said she was impressed at how well the patients in the new study actually understood the trial benefit and risks described to them. "They got the message," she said. "But at the end of the day, they were hopeful that they would be the patient who benefited from it." Read More

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