Advanced Cancers

By: Mary Fisher Bornstein

A diagnosis of advanced cancer is a time for the patient and everyone they love to have the difficult conversation about their wishes for end of life care. Filling out a living will is something everyone can do, so that their family knows their desire and plan for heroic treatments versus hospice care. Click here for an Ohio Living Will.

Compassion and Care at the end of Life

At this time, there are eight states in the US that legally allow physician-assisted death with dignity, what used to be called euthanasia. Ohio is not one of them.

  • California (End of Life Option Act; approved in 2015, in effect from 2016)
  • Colorado (End of Life Options Act; 2016)
  • District of Columbia (D.C. Death with Dignity Act; 2016/2017)
  • Hawaii (Our Care, Our Choice Act; 2018/2019)
  • Maine (Death with Dignity Act; 2019)
  • New Jersey (Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act; 2019)
  • New Mexico (Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act; 2021)
  • Oregon (Death with Dignity Act; 1994/1997)
  • Vermont (Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life Act; 2013)
  • Washington (Death with Dignity Act; 2008)

Here are two organizations working to make more states legal, and providing education and information:

Death With Dignity

Compassion & Choice

Answers to your Frequently Asked Questions:

What does end-of-life care mean for people who have cancer?

How do doctors know how long a person will continue to live?

When should someone call for professional help if they're caring for a person who has cancer at home?

When is the right time to use hospice care?

What are some ways to provide emotional support to a person who is living with and dying of cancer?

What other issues should caregivers be aware of?

What are some topics patients and family members can talk about?

How should caregivers talk to their children about advanced cancer?

How does cancer cause death?

What are the signs that death is approaching, and what can the caregiver do to make the person comfortable during this time?

The National Cancer Institute has prepared a very robust Q&A for end-of-life care.

Click here for the Q&A