Most people would associated a cancer diagnosis with a fight to survive. Many would imagine that treatments like surgery, chemo and radiation therapy would be automatic. When it comes to Non-small Cell Lung cancer however, at least one in five patients in the late stages of the disease undergoes no treatment at all. Patients either elect to forgo or are not offered treatments that could at least prolong their lives.
The study conducted at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center couldn't find one exact reason for the number of patients who do not receive treatment. The 20% or one in five figure is actually higher than it's been in the past. Researchers believe it could be due to poor insurance, a lack of patient advocacy services or even dementia, since many patients with NSCLC are elderly and may not understand their treatment options, thinking instead that the disease is a death sentence. The findings underscored the need for more education for patients with cancer on all the options they have to choose from and how each one works.