When palliative care is a dirty word

Men have a much bigger issue with it than women

Men with advanced cancer are more likely to shun palliative care than women who are terminally ill, according to a US study.

In fact, men are 30% less likely to even consider palliative care, say the authors, who suggest the findings reflect social norms about gender.

While the study was small, comprising just 383 patients aged 22-90, the results are consistent with previous studies that show men tend to cast themselves as a “fighter” and view palliative care as a sign of giving up, the authors say.

They are also less likely to sign do-not-resuscitate orders at the end of life, they add.

“Often men see themselves as the family protector," says the study’s lead author Associate Professor Fahad Saeed, a palliative care specialist and assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

“When struck with a serious illness, they