AbstractReason for the study:
Clinicians use conserving care in their therapeutic decisions. Discussing death as part of the treatment influences patient's perception and their acceptance of death. We compare 2 literary patients’ perceptions of cancer and death (Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward and Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich), with a contemporary patient perception.Results:
The patient interview revealed naive cancer perceptions: every treatment option should be tried. In Solzhenitsyn's novel, the main character finds a goal in love; Tolstoy conceptualizes death as a solution for patients’ moral issues.Conclusions:
Tolstoy's novel shows death as an honest prospect. Solzhenitsyn's novel shows the opposite: the prospect of love and life helps the protagonist patient psychologically through his disease. The patient interview revealed no discussion of death at all.