Patients may misunderstand goals of chemo

October 12, 2012 1:42:17 PM PDT
Often the aim is a cure, but when doctors recommend chemotherapy to people with incurable cancer-- many of those patients may not understand that the treatment won't save their lives.

For some patients, chemotherapy can control the growth of the cancer for a while and prolong their lives. Other times, it's intended to ease some of the symptoms of a patient's cancer without a hope of improving survival.

A study in the journal Cancer found that those different goals are not always clear. Of 123 cancer patients surveyed, one-quarter misunderstood the goal of their chemotherapy. Experts say they believe a lack of communication between health practitioners and patients may be to blame.