The life-sustaining treatments among cancer patients at end of life and the caregiver's experience and perspectives

Young Ho Yun, Myung Kyung Lee, Yoon Jung Chang, Chang Hoon You, Samyong Kim, Jong Soo Choi, Ho Yeong Lim, Chang Geol Lee, Youn Seon Choi, Young Seon Hong, Si Young Kim, Dae Seog Heo, Hyun Sik Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Goals of work The goal of this study was to investigate the utilization of and attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments (LSTs) at the end of life. Materials and methods We identified 4, 042 families of cancer patients who had died at any of 17 hospitals in Korea during 2004. Among those, we analyzed the interviews provided by 1, 592 (39.4%) primary caregivers. Only women who provided information in baseline and followup point could be included for internal comparison. Main results Most caregivers did not discuss with their patient the option of utilizing the intensive care unit (ICU; 92.7%) or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR; 93.7%) to prolong an ending life. Logistic regressions indicated that the ICU was more likely to be utilized when patients experienced an unexpected medical problem before dying, discussed the ICU with the family caregiver, or were loweducated. CPR was more likely to be used if the patient died within 6 months of diagnosis or the family caregiver was <65 years old. Family caregivers more likely to use the ICU if placed in the same situation again were those whose patients had a higher monthly income or died within 6 months of diagnosis, low-educated, or had utilized the ICU. Conclusions Our findings underscore the importance of discussing LST with terminally ill patients based on adequate information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment This work was supported by the 2005 Korean National Cancer Control Program by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korea and partially supported by the Grant NCC-0710423-1 from the National Cancer Center, Korea.


  • Cancer
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • End of life
  • Intensive care unit
  • Life-sustaining treatments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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