Suicide and euthanasia: Patient attitudes in the context of cancer

Cathy Owen*, Christopher Tennant, John Levi, Michael Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


One hundred oncology patients from a major teaching hospital were asked about their attitudes to a number of final life events including active withdrawal from treatment, the refusal of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, suicide and euthanasia. A descriptive approach was used incorporating semi‐structured interviews and established questionnaire measures. One third of the patient sample anticipated some role for taking active steps to end their own lives. This was not restricted to those currently psychologically disturbed nor to any particular demographic subgroup. Patients with more severe illness or poor prognosis did not express interest in suicide and euthanasia. A positive past psychiatric history increased the potential for seeing suicide as an option. The results have significant implications for the establishment of patient care protocols in final life events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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