Cancer: a perspective of human dignity and informed consent from ethics and justice

Cancer: a perspective of human dignity and informed consent from ethics and justice
Dora E. García-González, Xenia A. Rueda
National University of Colombia Journal of Public Health, 15 May 2020; 22(3) pp 1-5
Open Access
This article attempts to reflect on the importance of thinking in general about illness and about cancer, from an ethical perspective. This approach reveals the central role of personal dignity and the moral relevance that supports the reasons for respecting people. The ethical values that sustain the practice of medicine must aim at uplifting this dignity and seeking situations of justice, since living in a community expresses intersubjectivity that cannot be truncated by illnesses like cancer. Therefore, situations involving poverty cannot justify the lack of health care, and if such lacks occur, they run counter to ethical awareness in the deepest sense and destroy intersubjectivity. As a result, cancer is suffered as a vital experience, in a framework of lives that are lived and are not simply objects of study; those stricken with cancer are individuals who are denied the human right to health, and undergo the elimination of their dignity, the cancelation of justice, and a death sentence. Society is part of these actions and at the same time, suffers from the disappearance of hope. In this sense, the process of informed consent is used as a tool that encourages dialog and understanding between doctors and patients during proper treatment, on a shared path.

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