Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing




With the advancing age of the population, the increasing incidence of cancer, and all of the advances in cancer therapy, comes the ability to prolong life in cancer patients well beyond what was possible even ten years ago. Along with the progress of advanced surgical and radiation techniques, there is now an ever-expanding array of chemotherapy, biotherapy, and immunotherapy being used on patients in all age groups and in all stages of cancer. These advances have thrilled researchers and physicians, as they now have a multitude of options to offer cancer patients, perhaps even as late as third or fourth line therapy. If traditional chemotherapy fails, it is very likely that a new novel agent will be offered to the patient, regardless of age and performance status. Cancer patients often have an unwavering amount of hope and faith in their physician, and these treatments, while promising and encouraging, add to the growing problem of delaying end-of-life care discussions in patients, often until they are exhausted of all hope and quality of life. The Institute of Medicine has made dying well from cancer a top priority and states that those with palliative needs deserve access to expert-level care and those who meet the criteria of a six month or less prognosis should be offered hospice. Ambulatory oncology nurses are in a unique position to add to the discussion of barriers to end-of-life care discussions in cancer patients and, for this reason a qualitative research study was conducted.

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