Good death in cancer care: a nationwide quantitative study

Ann Oncol. 2007 Jun;18(6):1090-7. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdm068. Epub 2007 Mar 12.


Background: The aims of this study were to (i) conceptualize dimensions of a good death in Japanese cancer care, (ii) clarify the relative importance of each component of a good death and (iii) explore factors related to an individual's perception of the domains of a good death.

Methods: The general population was sampled using a stratified random sampling method (n = 2548; response rate, 51%) and bereaved families from 12 certified palliative care units were surveyed as well (n = 513; 70%). We asked the subjects about the relative importance of 57 components of a good death.

Results: Explanatory factor analysis demonstrated 18 domains contributing to a good death. Ten domains were classified as 'consistently important domains', including 'physical and psychological comfort', 'dying in a favorite place', 'good relationship with medical staff', 'maintaining hope and pleasure', 'not being a burden to others', 'good relationship with family', 'physical and cognitive control', 'environmental comfort', 'being respected as an individual' and 'life completion'.

Conclusions: We quantitatively identified 18 important domains that contribute to a good death in Japanese cancer care. The next step of our work should be to conduct a national survey to identify what is required to achieve a good death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Bereavement
  • Chronic Disease / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires