Parents With Advanced Cancer Are More Likely to Choose Aggressive Treatment

October 14, 2014
Amber Bauer, ASCO staff

After a cancer diagnosis, patients and families have to make a number of decisions about cancer treatment. Many factors play a role in this decision-making process, but for parents with cancer, wanting to have more time with their children is at the top of that list, according to a new study that will be presented this weekend at ASCO’s 2014 Quality Care Symposium in Boston.

As part of this study, the researchers interviewed 42 people with metastatic cancer who had children under the age of 18. When asked how their children influenced their treatment decisions, the majority of participants (64%) said that being a parent had motivated them to choose life-extending treatments.  Other factors played a smaller role in their decision-making process, including being able to maintain their role as parents and receiving treatment close to their families instead of traveling for a second opinion or having treatment that could require long hospital stays.

When asked about their preferences for hospice care, a little more than half (52%) of parents said they were interested in using hospice services. Many recognized hospice as a supportive resource for their families, while others were specifically interested in protecting their children from seeing death at home.

In this podcast, Gregory A. Masters, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chair of ASCO’s Cancer Communications Committee, talks more about this research and what it means for patients.