BACKGROUND: Patients diagnosed with cancer are often treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy with curative intent. The transition from curative to palliative intent involves re-evaluation of treatment, and has to take into account the attitudes, beliefs and life aims of the patient. OBJECTIVE: To discuss the difficulties in determining when to cease chemotherapy and radiotherapy in patients with advanced cancer. DISCUSSION: The concept of treatment evaluation using a 'burden versus benefit' paradigm is discussed. Treatment aims must be in concordance with those of the patient, which are often couched in functional terms or linked to future significant life events. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can offer patients in the palliative phase of cancer illness, benefits in terms of relief of symptoms and meaningful prolongation of life, and should be considered in appropriate circumstances.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Australian Family Physician|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2002|