Cancer Research Center,Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran E-mail: Sh_bazmi2003@yahoo.com
This article investigates ethical challenges cancer patients face in the end stages of life including doctors’ responsibilities, patients’ rights, unexpected desires of patients and their relatives, futile treatments, and communication with patients in end stages of life. These patients are taken care of through palliative rather than curative measures. In many cases, patients in the last days of life ask their physician to terminate their illness via euthanasia which has many ethical considerations. Proponents of such mercy killing (euthanasia) believe that if the patient desires, the physician must end the life, while opponents of this issue, consider it as an act of murder incompatible with the spirit of medical sciences. The related arguments presented in this paper and other ethical issues these patients face and possible solutions for dealing with them have been proposed. It should be mentioned that this paper is more human rational and empirical and the views of the legislator are not included, though in many cases human intellectual and empirical comments are compatible with those of the legislator.