Lung Cancer

The decision not to have any treatment for lung cancer

With some forms of cancer the value of treatment can be very uncertain. Doctors may not be sure that treatment will benefit the patient, particularly if a cancer is thought to be slow growing. In the case of lung cancer, treatments may lead to a cure, or they may relieve symptoms and extend life, but in some situations they may not help much, and the side effects of treatments may cause distress. Some people, especially older people, may decide not to have any treatment at all. Here one seventy-seven year old man explains why he decided not to have any treatment for suspected lung cancer. Cancer was suspected on a routine scan; he had no symptoms of lung cancer. He was reluctant to give up his work for treatments that might not be successful, and he did not want to be kept alive unless he had a relatively good quality of life. After the interview it turned out that he did not in fact have lung cancer, so this further justified his decision.

Last reviewed May 2016.

 

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