Informed consent revisited: A doctrine in the service of cancer care

Madeleine Schachter, Joseph J. Fins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Informed consent traditionally has been viewed as a safeguard for the protection of patients' decisional autonomy. While informed consent is a critical means for the protection of the patient's dominion over the integrity of his body, exclusive consideration of the doctrine as a safeguard for patients eclipses the doctrine's significant benefits for the therapeutic endeavor. Undertaking a thorough informed consent process helps the physician avoid the unilateral burdens of paternalism; furthers compliance with the doctor's legal obligations, ethical duties, and clinical responsibilities; and, as importantly, enhances the collaborative treatment enterprise. When informed consent is viewed narrowly and solely as a protective device for patients' rights, the physician may be less likely to engage the patient in ongoing discussions. Important opportunities may be missed to elicit additional clinical information, assess psychosocial concerns, and reiterate the commitment to collaboration and patient autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1113
Number of pages5
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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