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1/31. family consent, communication, and advance directives for cancer disclosure: a Japanese case and discussion.

    The dilemma of whether and how to disclose a diagnosis of cancer or of any other terminal illness continues to be a subject of worldwide interest. We present the case of a 62-year-old Japanese woman afflicted with advanced gall bladder cancer who had previously expressed a preference not to be told a diagnosis of cancer. The treating physician revealed the diagnosis to the family first, and then told the patient: "You don't have any cancer yet, but if we don't treat you, it will progress to a cancer". In our analysis, we examine the role of family consent, communication patterns (including ambiguous disclosure), and advance directives for cancer disclosure in japan. Finally, we explore the implications for Edmund Pellegrino's proposal of "something close to autonomy" as a universal good.
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ranking = 1
keywords = communication
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2/31. The role of clostridium septicum in paraneoplastic sepsis.

    CONTEXT: clostridium septicum infections are rare but often associated with serious if not fatal outcomes. clostridium septicum infection does not appear to be associated with a single specific defect in cellular or humoral immunity. It has been associated with multiple medical problems, including but not limited to leukemia, malignancy of the bowel, other solid tumors, cyclic neutropenia with enterocolitis, diabetes mellitus, and severe arteriosclerosis. Most cases of C septicum are associated with malignancy, and mortality approaches 100% if care is not rendered within 12 to 24 hours. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate outcomes of patients with C septicum bacteremia, whether treated medically or surgically or both, and to note associated conditions. DESIGN: Retrospective evaluation of patients found to have C septicum bacteremia in the past 6 years. SETTING: Two teaching hospitals, Brooke Army Medical Center (250 beds) and Wilford Hall Medical Center (292 beds), were the source of our patients. patients: All patients found to have C septicum bacteremia during hospitalization or postmortem examination were included in the study. There were no exclusion criteria. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: mortality associated with C septicum infection. RESULTS: In our case series, mortality was 33%, which is slightly lower than reported in prior studies (43%-70%). CONCLUSION: Presumptive identification based on Gram stain, awareness of C septicum infection as a paraneoplastic syndrome, and prompt, clear communication between laboratory personnel and clinicians are necessary for early diagnosis of C septicum infection. Early institution of antibiotic therapy improves prognosis.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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3/31. Sedation for intractable distress of a dying patient: acute palliative care and the principle of double effect.

    Shortly before his death in 1995, Kenneth B. Schwartz, a cancer patient at massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), founded the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center at MGH. The Schwartz Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing compassionate health care delivery, which provides hope to the patient, support to caregivers, and encourages the healing process. The Center sponsors the Schwartz Center Rounds, a monthly multidisciplinary forum where caregivers reflect on important psychosocial issues faced by patients, their families, and their caregivers, and gain insight and support from fellow staff members. The case presented is of a young man dying of recurrent epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, distressed with stridor and severe pain, whose poorly controlled symptoms were successfully treated with an infusion of propofol, titrated to provide effective comfort in the last few hours of the patient's life. The tenet of double effect, which allows aggressive treatment of suffering in spite of foreseeable but unintended consequences, is reviewed. The patient's parents were invited and contributed to the Rounds, providing compelling testimony to the power of the presence of clinicians at the time of death and the importance of open communication about difficult ethical issues.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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4/31. risk in numbers--difficulties in the transformation of genetic knowledge from research to people--the case of hereditary cancer.

    Difficulties in communicating diagnostic information are exacerbated when the 'diagnosis' is a 'genetic risk' for cancer. The risk estimation demanded in this situation differs from other types of probability estimations. Observations of participants in 45 consultation sessions between physicians and potential patients were conducted at a clinic for hereditary cancer to explore the communication of genetic information. Thirty-three sessions were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed, along with notes from the other sessions. A dominant theme was found to be numerical discussion of risk. Further analysis resulted in the description of problems for practitioners in the process of translating scientific knowledge into clinical management. Problems in providing information include unclear aims of the consultation sessions, mixing various types of background information and probabilities, recognizing how low the predictive values are, and difficulties in communicating the relationship between probability and conclusions. Problems in communicating information about the genetic risk for cancer are of at least two types: dilemmas arising from uncertainties implicit in the nature of the information itself and difficulties in communicating information in a manner that those concerned can interpret. These issues need clarification, so that information with far-reaching consequences can be made as clear and comprehensible as possible for those involved.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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5/31. Ethical issues in pediatric life-threatening illness: dilemmas of consent, assent, and communication.

    The treatment of life-threatening illnesses in childhood is replete with ethical issues and with clinical issues that have ethical implications. The central issues are those involved with a child's participation in the decision-making process and with communication of information about the illness and treatments to children. This article examines the questions of patient autonomy and of parental responsibility and prerogative in the context of pediatric oncology. Included in this examination of the ethical dimensions of pediatric life-threatening illness is a discussion of the many related aspects involved, including medical, cultural, psychosocial, legal, and developmental. A multidimensional approach that considers the ways in which these multiple aspects interact with one another, and which focuses on establishing a strong working alliance between the health care team and the pediatric patient's family, can help to avoid or resolve potential ethical and clinical conflicts.
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ranking = 1
keywords = communication
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6/31. radiation-adriamycin interactions: preliminary clinical observations.

    This communication reports four patients treated with the anthracycline adriamycin and irradiation either concurrently or sequentially, who demonstrated apparent augumentation of radiation reactions. Two of these patients demonstrated the so-called "recall" phenomenon.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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7/31. Multidimensional continuous pain assessment chart (MCPAC) for terminal cancer patients: a preliminary report.

    Current use of pain measures is limited in clinical practice. The common pain measures neither target nor monitor the changes that occur with time with regard to the effect of other parameters associated with pain control. Changes in parameters, such as pain type, various pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions, dosage of medications, and use of rescue doses, usually complicate pain control in terminal cancer patients. The authors propose use of a multidimensional, continuous pain chart that permits better assessment and control of pain. The chart integrates visual analogue pain assessment, special treatment techniques, regular medications and rescue doses, co-analgesics, pain categories, parameters relating to quality of life, sleep, and mobility. A total of 1,178 assessments were performed in 100 consecutive patients with full compliance. The chart permitted a continuous monitoring of patients 'most important needs concerned with pain control and was easily integrated into the hospice daily routines. We conclude that the chart represents an effective and friendly graphic tool to monitor pain and associated parameters that relate to the quality of the broad spectrum of pain control. The hope is that this tool may improve pain control by hospice professionals and facilitate communication between patients and the interdisciplinary team members.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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8/31. Autologous soluble tumor-associated antigens prevent the toxic side effects of cancer chemotherapy and inhibit the progress of tumorigenesis: case report.

    In this communication, we report for the first time, that immunization of cancer patients with autologous soluble tumor-associated antigens (sTAA) isolated from their own serum prevents the toxic side effects of chemotherapy, improves the patients' clinical status, and has therapeutic effects without chemotherapy. In 2001 and 2002, two cancer patients were treated, during chemotherapy, with autologous sTAA. Another benign tumor-bearing patient was treated with a medicinal herb and autologous sTAA. Doses for subcutaneous injections varied between 2.5 and 3 mg of sTAA in 0.5 ml of sterile distilled water. injections were performed twice a week or at weekly intervals. In each case, the clinical status of the patient became more stable and healthier. Toxic side effects caused by chemotherapy decreased or even disappeared. No additional toxic side effects were observed after vaccination with sTAA. In the studied cases, a polyp disappeared and a metastatic brain tumor began to encapsulate. No metastases were seen in the case with colon adenocarcinoma. We concluded that vaccination of patients with autologous sTAA prevents the toxic side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients and improves their clinical status. In the case with the benign tumor, this vaccination activated the host's immune system, prevented progress of the disease and even promoted tumor disappearance. We suggest that immunotherapy with autologous sTAA provides significant clinical benefits in cancer patients and appears to be an important new adjuvant treatment of cancer.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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9/31. Typologies of family reaction to pediatric malignancies.

    The psychologic adaptation of children with malignancies is influenced by the strategies that both the relatives and the other members of the family employ as a reaction towards the disease and the therapeutic progress. Our experience in the Department of hematology of the University "La Sapienza": by carefully observing the communication styles, the distribution of roles, and the modification of the family organization up to the eventual adaptation to the disease, we have been able to identify various reaction typologies of the family, and also to evaluate their frequency and their varying functionality with time. A thorough analysis of these modalities of reaction may allow prompt recognition of problems related with psychologic and social adaptation of both the pediatric patient and his family, and may allow the adoption of pertinent strategies of intervention, in order to guarantee a better compliance throughout the whole therapy.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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10/31. Suffering: a relatively unexplored phenomenon among family caregivers of non-institutionalized patients with cancer.

    Suffering is a phenomenon with physical and emotional components. Although several studies have drawn attention to the needs of, and demands placed on families who provide care for patients with a diagnosis of cancer at home, few have discussed the suffering which many of these caregivers experience. This paper will illustrate the phenomenon of suffering as seen in the responses made by family caregivers of patients with cancer. Eighty-three family caregivers drawn from a probability sample of patients with a diagnosis of cancer were interviewed in their homes to determine needs they encountered in their caregiving roles. The caregivers consisted of 43 males and 40 females, with mean ages of 53 and 54 years respectively. Families not only identified their needs, they also indicated several areas which were for them sources of suffering. The findings revealed that family suffering often stemmed from fear of loneliness; uncertainty about the future (their own and that of the patients); lifestyle disruption; communication breakdown; lack of support; and their sense of helplessness. These findings suggest that health professionals, particularly nurses, who work with families in their homes, must be alert and sensitive to cues and circumstances which could indicate suffering, and in so doing, take the necessary steps to ameliorate their situation.
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ranking = 0.2
keywords = communication
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