How Should We Care for Elderly Cancer Patients?
February 18, 2009
The Hippocratic principle of not harming the patient has remained up to this day an undisputed dogma in medicine. It reminds the physician of the possible detrimental, if not lethal, outcome of the treatment he prescribes and implicitly enforces good medical practice, although the true impact will unlikely be known. Oncology is one subspecialty of Medicine where this dilemma-ie, the pros and cons of treatment-is continuously put to the test, as the physician must decide on treatment for an often life-threatening illness while taking into account individual factors such as the patient’s will, performance status, available standard treatment options, and possible experimental approaches.