Ethics of Palliative Surgery in Esophageal Cancer


avatar SM Mousavi 1 , avatar Seyed Reza Mousavi 1 , * , avatar ME Akbari 1

1 Cancer Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

How to Cite: Mousavi S, Mousavi S R, Akbari M. Ethics of Palliative Surgery in Esophageal Cancer. Int J Cancer Manag. 2013;6(1):e80376.


International Journal of Cancer Management: 6 (1); e80376
Published Online: March 30, 2013
Article Type: Research Article
Received: April 16, 2012
Accepted: June 07, 2012


Background: Surgery is one of the important palliative methods for patients with esophageal cancer. In addition to concerns related to clinical decision making, various moral challenges are encountered in palliative surgery. Some of them are related to patients and their illness, others to surgeons, their attitudes, skills and knowledge base.

Methods: Pertinent moral challenges are addressed and analyzed with respect to prevailing perspectives in normative ethics (Ross style pluralism). Demands regarding sensibility and precaution in this clinical setting represent substantial challenges with regard to the beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, autonomy and proper patient information.

Results: Moreover, variations in definition of palliative surgery as well as limited scientific evidence in efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency pose methodological and moral problems. We have shown that ethical principles (beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice) in all procedures and treatments in esophageal cancer, including psychological problems of the patients are effective in improving their quality of life.

Conclusion: Both surgical skills and moral sensibility are required to improve surgical palliative care in esophageal cancer, and should be taken into account not only in clinical practice but also in education and research.


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