What is the protocol for giving a patient the option of just living out his/her days the best way possible after a diagnosis of terminal cancer?
Is there something in the “How to talk to a patient” handbook that says don’t forget this option?
I hope it’s there because it needs to be part of the multiple choices available to patients who might get more misery than management of their disease with chemotherapy or radiation or even joining a clinical trial.
And that’s another piece of this equation: Does offering the no treatment option squash all hope the patient, care giver and loved ones hold on to?
I think back to what a wise woman once told me about hope. She said HOPE changes as the cancer journey moves along toward its end.
We begin with hope for a cure. When that is taken away, our hope is that quality of life will remain good. When the disease starts to cause changes in that quality, we
hope the palliative measures will soothe any pain and finally we hope for peace.
Living the best you can, while you can with terminal cancer and without treatment is the right choice for some individuals, I’m convinced of that.
I’m also convinced it takes a strong person to make that decision.
It’s a no armor, head to head battle with a very nasty enemy.