Decision making for the initiation and termination of dialysis in patients with advanced cancer

Sheron Latcha
Seminars in Dialysis 2019, 32 (3): 215-218
Age is a risk factor for both cancer and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Newer cancer treatments are allowing patients to live longer with their cancer, the renal toxicity from the cancer itself or from the therapies that was used to treat the malignancy. Consequently, nephrologists will increasingly be asked to evaluate and counsel patients with ESRD and advanced cancer regarding the initiation of dialysis. Data on morbidity, mortality, and quality of life (QOL) outcomes in this population are sparse. Expectations regarding what dialysis can reasonably accomplish in this cohort can be unrealistically high among patients, their family members and the rest of the health care team. This article will discuss some results from the available studies on mortality and QOL outcomes in this cohort and advise the nephrologist about how to approach these challenging discussions.

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