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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsHoping when there is no hope – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl | November 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Hoping when there is no hope – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl | November 2017)

Published/Released on November 27, 2017 | Posted by Admin on December 10, 2017 / , , , , ,
 


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Patients participating in phase I oncology trials have terminal cancer and are near the end of life. Participating in research cannot cure them or even extend their lives. Not only because they have terminal cancer, but also because in phase I trials one tests the safety profile of the treatment, not effectiveness against cancer.

Pär SegerdahlNevertheless, many patients state that hope is an important reason for them to participate in phase I oncology trials. This is worrying from an ethical perspective. Do they understand what they agree to when they enroll as research participants? Have they been properly informed?

In an article in the Journal of Oncology PracticeTove Godskesen discusses the issue, together with Ulrik Kihlbom. They argue that it is a norm in cancer care to provide hope to patients, and that this norm may support a tendency in personnel who recruit research participants to not always discourage hope, but rather reinforce it.

Since supporting hope in cancer patients is humanly important, it is not entirely easy to find a solution to the problem. Godskesen and Kihlbom proceed cautiously by distinguishing three kinds of hope that cancer patients may have concerning their participation in phase I trials.

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