Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

It’s time to call time on the “end of treatment” bell

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 18 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4236

Re: It’s time to call time on the “end of treatment” bell

Jo Taylor’s comments remind us that people handle challenges differently, particularly with respect to cancer, a rollercoaster journey with times of hope and disappointment, of excitement and achievement, or resignation.

I write as someone who has also been treated for recurrence but before the bell ringing fashion and at a time when the prevailing moods at the radiotherapy department were fear, misery and embarrassment.

We have progressed since then and chemo units generally foster a spirit of realistic optimism. However there may also be palliative patients present some of whom may be better treated at a separate time or place from those patients with good prognosis and being treated with curative intent.

Units will vary but I have been very impressed how some have been able to foster a sense of shared experience and fellowship, enabling all patients to feel understood and supported; allowing appropriate celebration whilst being mindful of those less fortunate.

I believe that completion of treatment does deserve recognition and that we also should address the needs of those who are troubled by it.

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 June 2019
Eric J Watts
Cons Haematologist (Retd)
Brentwood Essex