Ethical considerations in oncology: Balancing the interests of patients, oncologists, and society

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27 Scopus citations


Background: Oncologists face ethical dilemmas every day in deciding about choice of treatment, continuation of treatments, events near the end of life, conflicts of interest, and risk management. Yet, many oncologists hove limited training in ethics. Methods: Review of existing studies and definitions of useful terms. Case studies analyzed according to ethical principles. Results: Individual oncology cases can be analyzed according to ethical principles with benefit to the patient, physician, and possibly society. Ethics cannot resolve many of the thorny questions about allocation of resources, justice, or possible conflict of interest. Conclusion: Oncology decision-making fits into formal ethical frameworks, and understanding both can help doctors and patients make difficult choices. Understanding of ethical principles can help daily practice, but does not solve current dilemmas of allocation of resources, unrealistic demands, etc. More formal collaboration between hospital ethics committees or personnel and clinical oncologists is recommended for the day-to-day decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2464-2470
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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