Horrible Bills for Incurable Advanced Cancer— Is It Worth?

Choosing to perform meaningless treatment for patients at any cost is often caused by the moral pressure around. However, what do patients want? Have you ever considered the patient’s own feelings?

There has been considerable controversy over the practice that patients who have advanced cancer prolonged their lives at any cost.

After long-term efforts of the global medical community, currently cancer treatment has allowed more than half of cancer patients to obtain a curative effect. The United States reportedly has a total cancer cure rate of 62%.  For patients with advanced cancer, the role of anti-cancer therapy can extend the survival time of some patients, but it is difficult for patients with very late stage disease to prolong survival. The survival of patients with end-stage cancer is nearly hopeless.

However, it seems that everyone should embrace the fact that life is priceless both mentally and economically. So in the clinical treatment, we are trying everything at any cost and getting our friends and family back.

However, for the development of treatment plans for advanced cancer patients, the principle should be based on the patient’s point of view rather than anything else. Here is a typical example from a doctor. He had an old friend who had transferred pancreatic cancer to the liver. After a relapse, his friend’s son came to him for help and asked if he would continue surgery. The doctor persuaded that the operation had no practical significance. Instead, it was better to take him out to stroll around as long as his health condition is good enough.

As a result, in the last four months, the old friend who had cancer had not been in the hospital. His son took him out to go around for leisure and travel. His was in a very good state, both physically and mentally. And he really appreciated all his son’s understanding, care and arrangements. As for the last fifteen days, he was admitted to the hospital with no ventilator, no various rescue measures, only minimizing his pain. In the end, he went very quietly, without any regrets or pain.

From my perspective, this case is a very good example. You’d better not borrow money everywhere and bet on the possibility of prolonging life. For these patients, it is better to spend their money on meeting the “luxury aspirations” that they did not dare to think about in the final period of life. They can only receive appropriate medications to relieve the suffering when necessary.

Of course, life is priceless, but medical treatment is limited, so are medical resources. The World Health Organization (WHO) proposed in the “Control of Cancer Program” to ensure that anti-cancer treatment is only used for the benefit phase, and allow people to face up to the reality of limited curative effect of advanced cancer treatment, and at the same time warn that advanced cancer treatment decisions need to be carefully weighed against the pros and cons for not wasting resources.

You may be familiar with this quota, “it’s better to die than to live”. But for terminally ill patients, this sentence may not be correct. Some experts believe that if there is no hope of healing, patients will also suffer physical and mental pain. Families should have the right to choose to give up treatment and take effective measures to alleviate the suffering of patients.

Globally, advanced cancer is still incurable. However, when one suffers from cancer, the desire to survive often makes one drop all the possible money in the treatment. For patients with advanced cancer, doctors in developed countries have given up life-saving treatment based on prolonged survival and replaced it with palliative care based on improving the quality of life. Because patients with advanced cancer are already extremely weak, and surgery will inevitably bring trauma, even make it more painful.

Medical demand is unlimited. Medical ineffectiveness is available in any country, and we can actually completely avoid it. Let’s put it in the whole wold, for advanced cancer patients, it’s meaningless to take the wasteful treatment in a sad and tired condition. Why not just use that money and time  to cross out your Bucket List one by one?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.