2nd time this week I’ve linked to a Peter Ubel blog post. This one was as irresistible as a doughut is to Homer Simpson.
And why is this a shared decision-making issue? Ubel writes:
“Why all this talk about math with patients? Shouldn’t all this number stuff be handled by physicians? Shouldn’t chemotherapy decisions be made by medical experts?
As it turns out, many such decisions depend strongly on patient preferences. Suppose that chemotherapy increases a patient’s odds of five-year survival from 30% to 35%, but that same chemotherapy also increases the chance that person will die in the next six months, from treatment complications. Should the patient take this chemotherapy? There is no simple medical answer to this question. The answer depends on this individual patient’s preferences for long-term versus short-term survival, with additional consideration for the burdens of chemotherapy. Making the right decision often means coming to grips with some math.”