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Cancer patients' preferences for control at the end of life

TitleCancer patients' preferences for control at the end of life
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsVolker, DL, Wu, HL
JournalQual Health ResQual Health Res
Volume21
Pagination1618-31
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number1049-7323 (Print)<br/>1049-7323 (Linking)
Accession Number21734224
KeywordsAdult, African Americans/psychology, Aged, Aged, 80 and Over, Decision Making, European Continental Ancestry Group/psychology, Female, Hispanic Americans/psychology, Humans, Internal-External Control, Interviews as Topic, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms/ psychology, Personal Autonomy, Religion and Medicine, Terminal Care/ psychology, Texas
AbstractThe achievement of a death consistent with personal preferences is an elusive outcome for most people with cancer. Maintaining a sense of control is a core component of a dignified death; however, control might be a Western bioethical notion with questionable relevance to culturally diverse groups. Thus, the purpose of our study was to explore the meaning of control and control preferences in a group of racially and ethnically diverse patients with an advanced cancer diagnosis. Using a hermeneutic, phenomenological approach, we interviewed 20 patients with advanced cancer and uncovered two themes: (a) preferences for everyday control over treatment decisions, family issues, final days of life, and arrangements after death, vs. (b) awareness that cancer and death are controlled by a higher power. Although the sample included non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, participants shared common views that are characteristic of American cultural norms regarding the value of autonomy.
Ethno Med: