Informed Consent for Treatment of Mesothelioma Cancer

Informed Consent is the term used to describe the communication between health providers and patients, particularly in clinical trials for new treatments. Informed Consent laws vary greatly from state to state, and also according to the specific case. In many states, Informed Consent laws may be more stringent in cases that involve experimental treatment. Additionally, some informed consent laws require written documents, while others do not.

Most laws require that patients be physically and mentally capable of understanding their condition and the ramifications of the proposed treatment. Therefore, in cases where the patient is unable to give their consent, the legal guardian of the patient makes treatment decisions for the patient. In the case of minors, parents are involved in any Informed Consent issues.

The primary purpose of informed consent is for the patient to have a complete understanding of their treatment, the possible risks of treatment, and the long term consequences of treatment. The goal is for the patient to have reasonable expectations of the effectiveness of treatment, and to understand any possible limitations there may be. As with nearly all cancer treatments, there are usually significant side effects that must be discussed and understood, as there may be instances where patients may find possible side effects too severe when compared to the potential benefits.

Costs associated with treatment are also a major factor when considering possible treatments. Some patients may need time to determine the financial impact. Additionally, the treatment itself may have logistical issues that the patient might want to consider. Certain treatments may be too draining for some malignant mesothelioma patients, who may prefer to spend their time and energy with friends and family.

With Informed Consent, patients are given alternative treatment options as well, helping to give them a full perspective on their available options. Although offering alternative options is a part of Informed Consent, many doctors encourage patients to independently research and explore all their options.

Informed Consent does not stop after the initial pre-treatment dialogue. The process of Informed Consent is ongoing, which is essential because patients may change their feelings about a treatment during the clinical trial. These trials are highly regulated, including by the FDA, which has many regulations applicable to trials regardless of whether they have received federal funding. Additionally, many hospitals have Institutional Review Boards that monitor and regulate the clinical trials conducted under their supervision. Clinical trials may also be subjected to peer reviews prior to patient trials. All of these measures are part of the Consent process, and help ensure that the trials run smoothly and safely.

Related: Advanced Directives

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