Terminally ill cancer patients' wish to hasten death

Palliat Med. 2002 Jul;16(4):339-45. doi: 10.1191/0269216302pm538oa.


This exploratory study investigated factors associated with the wish to hasten death among a sample of terminally ill cancer patients. Semi-structured interviews conducted on a total of 72 hospice and home palliative care patients were subjected to qualitative analysis using QSR-NUDIST. The main themes to emerge suggested that patients with a high wish to hasten death had greater concerns with physical symptoms and psychological suffering, perceived themselves to be more of a burden to others, and experienced higher levels of demoralization, while also reporting less confidence in symptom control, fewer social supports, less satisfaction with life experiences and fewer religious beliefs when compared with patients who had a moderate or no wish to hasten death. The implications of these findings will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Communication
  • Emotions
  • Euthanasia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Queensland
  • Right to Die
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Terminally Ill / psychology*