All treatments carry risks as well as potential benefits. For patients with cancer, management decisions have to consider the quality of survival as well as the prolonging of life and choices about treatment are often particulary stark. Participation in these decisions helps some patients adapt to their illness, increases their satisfaction with medical care and promotes acceptance of the treatment.1 For other patients it can impose undue responsibility and confusion, heighten anxiety or undermine trust in the doctor.2 Where does the balance lie?
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