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“By the way doctor, I’ve booked an African safari after my next chemo”

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7822 (Published 06 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:g7822
  1. Richard J Epstein, professor of medicine, Department of Oncology, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital, UNSW Clinical School, 384 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, Sydney, 2010, Australia
  1. richard.epstein{at}svha.org.au

Life affirming trips abroad are becoming common for today’s patients with cancer, reflects Richard J Epstein

Half a century ago Bob Dylan’s protest anthem The Times They Are a-Changin’ proclaimed that people could survive only if willing to adapt. Flash forward to now, and this same sentiment of self efficacy has morphed into a medical mantra for balding baby boomers. For this is a generation that is pursuing its bucket list ambitions to an extent never seen before.

We might not be able to cheat death, goes the thinking, but we can at least squeeze the last drop of blood out of life. Healthcare has now become a means to this end, as reflected in the boomers’ booming consumption of medical services.1

This should be no surprise; having enjoyed unprecedented access to labour saving devices and fast food, the emerging cohort of senior citizens now finds itself cursed by a glut of lifestyle associated cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.2 Although also blessed with better healthcare information and self assertion than their forebears,3 these combined trends have led to an exponential escalation of demand on health services.4 …

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