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Do cancer drugs improve survival or quality of life?

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4528 (Published 04 October 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4528

Re: Do cancer drugs improve survival or quality of life?

Depends on the type and stage of cancer.

The larger question raised by this article is valid. Early treatment in some cancer types definitely saves lives, as well as improves survival. The problem is that chemotherapy is used as a "palliative" by oncologists in advanced stages of cancer with known minimal response and giving false hope to patients and their relatives. That invariably takes away the quality of life, and likely shortens life. (Ref 1).

It is time for regulators to make it standard to look at survival. As a society, we have to look at the financial motives behind the current system.

1. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1000678

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 October 2017
ramakant sharma
intensivist
chandler