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Ethics of palliative surgery in patients with cancer

19 December 2022

Surgery is an important palliative treatment for patients with advanced cancer. In addition to concerns about clinical decision-making, various moral challenges are encountered in palliative surgery. Some of these relate to the patients and their disease, others to the surgeons, their attitudes, skills and knowledge base. The relevant moral challenges are addressed and analysed in relation to the dominant perspectives of normative ethics. The vulnerability of patients with incurable cancer demands moral awareness. Demands for sensitivity and caution in this clinical setting pose serious challenges in relation to the 'duty to help', benevolence, respect for autonomy and appropriate patient information. In addition, differences in the definition of palliative surgery, as well as the


The limited scientific evidence on efficacy and effectiveness poses methodological and moral problems. Therefore, a definition of palliative surgery is given that addresses these problems. Improving palliative care in oncologic surgery requires both surgical skill and high moral sensitivity. This should be taken into account not only in clinical practice, but also in education and research.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040842803000040?casa_token=1vEF D8IEraAAAAAA:sZsYg6MaN8D5jVNCOtV4mWM6C3gSUAirr4kx0LtPtV0V2dXB_S Y5B0KH5JsJW70v-KoMlfAH