Respecting the wishes of an adequately informed patient should be a priority in any health structure. A patient with advanced or terminal cancer should be allowed to express their will during the most important phases of their illness. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case, and in general instructions regarding an individual's medical care preferences, i.e., their 'living will', expressed when healthy, often change with the onset of a serious illness.
At the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), a clinical study is ongoing to verify whether, during clinical practice, the patient is adequately informed to sign an 'informed consent', in a fully aware manner, that will allow the patient and doctor to share in the decisions regarding complex treatment strategies (living will). A further aim of the study is to verify if health workers, both in hospital and at home, respect the patient's will.
The observational study 'Respecting the patient's wishes: Correlation between administered treatment and that accepted by the patient in their Living Will' was approved by the IEO Ethical Committee in April 2008.